Skip to main content
Internet Archive's 25th Anniversary Logo

Full text of "A Dictionary Of Modern American Usage 1"

See other formats

A Dictionary 









London Edinburgh Glasgow 
New York Toronto Melbourne 
Capetown Bombay Calcutta 
Madras Shanghai 



The title of this book has obviously been suggested by that of 
H. W. Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage, but the two 
books are radically different in their purpose. Mr. Fowler’s ambition 
was to help English people to use their own language more correctly. 
Mine is certaiSy not to teach Americans how to write or speak 

The present volume is intended for the benefit of three classes 
of readers. (1) It is primarily designed to assist English people who 
visit the United States, or who meet American friends, or who 
read American books and magazines, or who listen to American 
‘talkies’. Few of us, perhaps, realize what a subtle and frequent 
cause of misunderstanding lurks in the fact that so many familiar 
words are used in America with a different meaning, or at any rate 
with a different implication, from that which they bear in England. 
On both sides of the Atlantic we speak a common language, but 
if that common language has not always a common meaning its 
employment as a means of communication is beset by many pitfalls. 
The object of this book is to set forth and explain these differences 
of linguistic idiom, many of them quite unsuspected by the ordinary 

(2) Its value, I hope, will be scarcely less to Americans. They 
will learn from it much that will interest them respecting the stamp 
that has been impressed upon the language by the American 
environment and American conditions of life. It will also, inci- 
dentally, make English speakers and writers more intelligible to 
them, as I have included, for their benefit, fuller particulars of the 
normal usage in England than would be required by English 
readers, I have not thought it necessary, however, to give English 
usages anything like an exhaustive treatment. The few readers who 
may require such a complete account can turn for it to the Oxford 
English Dictionary or some other source of detailed information. 
It has seemed to me sujffiicient to set down the meanings that are 
attached to a word by an ordinary educated Englishman in his 
everyday use of it, without troubling, for example, about its 
signification in a local dialect or in the special vocabulary of a par- 
ticular trade. In matters of English usage I have taken the Oxford 
English Dictionary and its Supplement as an authoritative standard. 

(3) Apart from the service it may render in facilitating intercourse 


nationality, who concerns himself with tracing the changes in 
signification to which words are subject in the course of a long 

The words dealt with in this dictionary may be divided into the 
following classes, which are not, however, mutually exclusive: 

(1) Words whose meaning in America is entirely different from 
their meaning in England ; as billion, precinct, ruby type, solicitor. 

(2) Words whose general meaning is the same in both countries, 
but which, in America, have acquired a specific meaning in addition ; 
as brotherhood, commute, dues, fit, homestead, senior. 

(3) Words whose normal use has, in America, been extended to 
cover certain adjacent territoxy; os freight, graduate, hunt. 

(4) Words that, in America, have acquired different shades of 
meaning and therefore carry different implications; as jurist, 

(5) Words that retain in America a meaning now obsolete in 
England ; as apartment, citizen, conclude, tardy, thrifty, town. 

(6) Words that, in wAjnerica, have acquired a figurative meaning 
not in current use in England ; os gridiron, knife, pork, stripe, timber. 

(7) Words that, in America, commonly take the place of synonyms 
that are more generally used in England ; os faucet (for tap), hog (for 
pig), line (for queue), mail {tov post), two weeks {ior fortnight). 

(8) Words of slightly varying forms, of which one form is pre- 
ferred in America and another in England; as aluminum {alu- 
minium), acclimate (acclimatize), candidacy (candidature), deviltry 
(devilry), telegrapher (telegraphist). 

(9) Words that, in America, go to form compoxmds unknown in 
England; as blue, night, scratch, thumb. 

It will thus be seen that this does not profess to be a dictionary 
of Americanisms. For the achievement of an enterprise of so wide 
a scope we must wait until Sir William Craigie and his collaborators 
have completed the great work — The Historical Dictionary of 
American English — on which they arenow engaged at the University 
of Chicago. I have taken into account here such words only as are 
common to the vocabularies of both England and the United States. 
Excejpt in special cases I have not included words that are purely 
American in their origin (e.g. chautau^ua), or words adopted into 
current American speech from foreign languages (e.g. mesquite). 
The special cases arise when a word of native origin has been 
acclimatized in England but with a different meaning from that 
which it bears in the United States (e.g. cauctcs), or when a foreign 
word adopted in America is likely to be confused with an English 
word of similar form (e.g. stoop). I have not included a word 

but I have incidentally noted differences of spelling or pronuncia- 
tion in the case of words included for other reasons. 

The present volume is not based upon other dictionaries but upon 
material I have collected independently during more than thirty 
years, six of which were spent in theUnited States. (It would be quite 
impossible to compile, from dictionaries alone, a satisfactory record 
of national differences in verbal usage. For example, our English 
dictionaries give both crematorium and crematory, but you never 
hear an Englishman speak of a crematory,) At the same time, I have 
checked my own work by reference to such authorities as the 
Oxford English Dictionary (including the Supplement), the Century 
Dictionary, Webster^ s Dictionary, and the Standard Dictionary, I 
have also profited from consulting the Encyclopedia of the Social 
Sciences — a valuable work which is not as well known in England 
as it deserves to be — ^for authoritative information respecting the 
technical terms within its field. 

As far as possible I have illustrated my account of American 
usages by examples I have myself met with — ^none of my quota- 
tions are at second-hand — ^in the course of my reading of ( 1 ) American 
newspapers and periodicals and (2) American books. In the case 
of newspapers and periodicals, it has seemed to me unnecessary 
to take up space by citation of names. Whether a quotation 
appeared originally in the Cincinnati Enquirer or the Topeka Capital 
is of no real significance. Accordingly, where an example is given 
without mention of its source, the reader may assume that it is 
taken from an American newspaper or magazine. The purpose of 
these quotations is to provide ^lustrations of the American use 
of the word or expression in question, or, in some instances, to 
supply such information about the thing it denotes as would make 
it more intelligible to the English reader. I have not attempted 
the more ambitious task of tracing, by means of dates, the historical 
development of the use of the term. Other things being equal, I 
have utilized the most recent examples 'in my collection, but, if an 
example dated 1900 casts a clearer light upon the American use 
of a word than one dated 1980, 1 have preferred the earlier passage 
to the later. Whatever the date of the example, however, the reader 
may be assured that the idiom illustrated is still in current use. 
In the case of passages extracted from books, it should be remem- 
bered that books sometimes bear a different title in the United 
States from that under which they are published in English 
editions. I have reproduced the American spelling as an essential 
part of a quotation. So, too, the insertion or omission of a hyphen 
in (more or less) compound words corresponds to the practice 


in consecutive quotations as two separate words, as a single word, 
and as hyphenated. In such matters the American practice is no 
less go-as-you-please than the English. 

There are three problems, in especial, that confront the compiler 
of such a dictionary as this. In the first place, he must beware of 
hasty generalization ; that is to say, he must be careful not to 
mistake an idiosyncrasy of a single writer for an example of a 
general usage. Possibly I have sometimes fallen into this error, but 
at any rate I have tried to avoid it. In most cases the examples 
quoted are only a selection from a much larger number recorded 
in my notes. 

Again, it has not been my intention to include slang words and 
expressions, but in practice I have often found it difficult to draw 
the line between slang and colloquialisms. The difficulty is en- 
hanced by the fact that many words, originating as slang, soon 
establish a claim to a reputable place in the permanent vocabulary 
of the language. When I have found that a word, though labelled 
as slang in the dictionaries, is used in serious treatises by university 
professors, I have not hesitated to mclude it. 

My third problem is by far the most difficult. It arises from a 
process which is rapidly going on, almost unnoticed, all the time 
that one’s book is in preparation. Usages that to-day are peculiar 
to America are to-morrow adopted by English writers and speakers, 
frequently without the least suspicion of their transatlantic origin. 
A striking example has recently offered itself. Many of my readers 
will doubtless be surprised to learn that the use of cut in the sense 
of reduction is a neologism imported from the United States during 
the fourth decade of the present century. As late as 1929 it was 
not yet recognized in the Concise Oxford Dictionary — ^it appears, 
of course, in the 1934 edition of that work — although, as 
examples in my MS. notes prove, it was commonly so used in 
America as long ago as 1904 at least. Its general use in England 
dates from the financial and economic crisis of 1931, It had begun 
to creep into the headlines a few years before, being found in 
newspaper offices to be much easier than reduction to manipulate 
in a small space. During the discussions, in Parliament and the 
press, of the budget of September, 1931, public speakers and 
leader-writers, who had occasion to refer again and again in a 
speech or article to the reductions in the unemployment allowances, 
&c., came to appreciate the convenience of the shorter word. For 
a time it appeared within inverted commas — as, for example, in 
^Vpiitaher^s Alinanack for 1932, pages 175 and 881 — ^but before long, 
like the use of the title General for the head of the Salvation Army, 
it lost the half-apologetic suggestion implied by these marks. 


It so happens that I possess exceptional means of ascertaining 
what linguistic usages, now more or less acclimatized in England, 
have been taken over from America during the present century. 
My first period of residence in the United States was between 1900 
and 1905. After I had spent a year or two in New York, I found 
myself becoming impressed by the unexpectedly large number of 
differences between English and American idiom, and it occurred 
to me that it might be worth while to jot down instances that I 
came across of an American linguistic usage that was unfamiliar to 
me. Accordingly, I began, some time in 1902, to make notes of 
them. Several of these usages have since come to be so frequent in 
this country that scarcely any Englishman regards them to-day as 
importations, and, if I trusted to my memory alone, I doubt whether 
I should myself think of them as originally American, But when I 
find examples of them set down in black and white, with dates, in 
my notes, I know for a certainty that, in the early years of the 
century, they struck my attention as not being then in use at home. 
This conclusion is confirmed when, as commonly happens, I find 
the usage in question not recognized m the dictionaries published 
in England at about that period. 

I have decided that, in such cases, the recent acclimatization in 
England of a usage previously peculiar to America should not debar 
it from recognition in this dictionary. While an interpretation of it 
may no longer be necessary in order to help English readers to 
understand American books, it will at any rate be of service to 
students of the development of language to find a record here of the 
American origin of such variations from the normal English prac- 
tice of a few years ago. At the same time, it seems desirable to give 
some indication of the changes that have been taking place. I have 
therefore marked with a dagger (f) those words and usages which 
seem to me now on the way towards being naturalized in England 
and with a double dagger (f f) those whose naturalization here is by 
this time complete. In such matters the judgement of any in- 
dividual is, of course, not infallible, and I shall not be surprised to 
find that some critics think me too sparing of my daggers while 
others consider me too liberal with them. 

March, 1985. 

H. W. H. 


I MUST pubKcly offer my hearty thanks to several persons whose 
generous help, both in suggestion and in correction, has saved me 
from many faults of omission and commission. The whole diction- 
ary was read in typescript by Lieut.-Col. H. G. Le Mestirier, C.I.E., 
joint editor of the latest edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary^ 
The proofs were subsequently read in Chicago by Mr. M. M. 
Mathews, a member of Sir William Craigie’s Dictionary staff, and in 
Oxford by Dr. R. W. Chapman and other members of the staff of 
the University Press. Professor A. L. Goodhart has revised my 
definitions of certain legal and other terms. The book has greatly 
profited by the comments of all these scholarly critics. I must also 
gratefully recognize the kindness of several personal friends who 
have assisted me in various matters of English or American usage ; 
especially Miss Mary K. B. Honey, Miss N. V. D. Skillman, and 
Miss R. J. Coffin. I cannot fully express the debt I owe to my wife, 
whose co-operation has been of great service to my work in all its 
stages. It wiU, of course, be understood that I alone am respon- 
sible for the opinions pronounced or implied in the book on doubt- 
ful or controverted points as well as for any defects that may still 
be foimd in it. 


in addition to those in ordinary use 


abbreviate(d), abbrevia- 









literal(ly), literature 


adjective, adjectival 














Oxford English Dictionary 





autobiog. autobiography 














politics, political 




preface, prefix 






dialect(s), dialectal 
















England, English 






























is equivalent to 

f denotes that the word or usage thus marked is apparently becoming 
naturalized in England. 

tt denotes that the word or usage thus marked has become naturalized in 
England since the beginning of the present century. 

SMAT x caps: the printing of a word in small capitals indicates that further 
information will be found under that heading. 

A Dictionary of 

A. Am. A No, 1 = Eng, A, 1. 
‘Confession has come to be reckoned 
A No. 1 as a fad among certain soul 

aboard. In Am. this word has lost 
its exclusively nautical flavour. When 
a train is starting, ‘All aboard!’ = 
Eng. ‘ Take your seats, please ! ’ ‘ She 
got a seat in one of the cars, and, just 
as the train was to pull out, her hus- 
band came running along and climbed 
aboard.’ ‘When the morning train 
rattled up to the Marietta station, 
the McAdoo family climbed aboard’ 
(W. G. McAboo, Crowded Years, 7). 

academy. The current uses of the 
word in Great Britain are (1) a society 
for cultivating art, literature, &c,; 
e.g. the Royal Academy, the British 
Academy, the Royal Scottish Aca- 
demy, the Royal Academy of Music; 
(2) a training school for army officers, 
as the Royal Military Academy, 
Woolwich; and (3) in Scotland, a day 
school of high school rank; e.g, the 
Edinburgh Academy, the Glasgow 
Academy. (Its use to denote a pre- 
tentious private school, such as that 
attended by Becky Sharp, is now 
practically obs.) Two of these uses 
are paralleled in Am, ; (1) in the Am. 
Academy of Arts and Letters, the 
National Academy of Design, and the 
National Academy of Sciences; and 
(2) in the U.S. Military Academy at 
West Point and the U.S. Naval 
Academy at Annapolis. As a secon- 
dary school, however, the academy in 
Am. differs from the Edinburgh 
Academy in being mainly a boarding 
school. Many of its best-known 
examples were established in Revolu- 
tionary or pre-Revolutionary times. 


The name is rarely given to a school 
of recent foundation. 

In addition to West Point there are 
in Am. many so-called military aca- 
demies whose character is likely to be 
misunderstood in Eng. as they are 
private institutions and do not always 
aim at preparing their pupils for a 
military career. Their assumption of 
the term military means simply that 
they are conducted in a military way. 
The students wear imiforms and are 
organized in companies, with cap- 
tains, sergeants, &c. Such schools lay 
special stress upon discipline and 
are accordingly in favour with the 
parents of boys who are difficult to 
manage at home. Here are significant 
extracts from advts. of various mili- 
tary academies in a recent issue of the 
Atlantic Monthly, ‘ One of California’s 
finest private schools.’ ‘ Superb discip- 
linary training equaled by academic 
excellence. Prepares thoroughly for 
all colleges and for citizenship.’ ‘The 
American Rugby.’ ‘Nationally re- 
cognized for progressive educational 
methods, college preparation and 
stalwart character training.’ Lincoln 
Steffens tells us in his Autobiog. 
(i. 102) that his father took him away 
from the grammar school and sent 
him to *a private school, the military 
academy at San Mateo’, because he 
seemed to need a school where there 
was enough discipline to compel him 
to work. He was then about 15 years 

accent. In Eng, (see H. W. Fowler’s 
Modem Bngh^ Usage) the verb 
accent is commonly used in the literal 
sense, i.e. sound or write with an 
accent, while accentuate is preferred 
in fig. senses. This distinction is not 




always observed in Am. ‘This little 
group accented every happy feature of 
Indian life.’ ‘Lack of money accents 
every other distress’ (Ruth Haul, 
Pine Grove House, 272). ‘Though 
occasional cities were to be found in 
the Great West and the South, their 
existence merely accented the general 
rural character of the civilization 
which encompassed them ’ (Prof. A. M. 
ScHLESiNGER, The Rise of the City, 

accession. Books added to a 
hbrary are technically called acces- 
sions to it. The noun has given rise 
in Am, to a verb accession, to denote 
the act of entering a book on a list 
of such additions. ‘Material received 
by the Smithsonian through its own 
exchanges is first accessioned there’ 
(Report of Librarian of Congress). 
‘He sometimes used to work in that 
library accessioning books, as a way 
of earning pocket-money’ (Chris- 
topher Morley, John Mistletoe, 22). 

acclimate. In Am. the form ac- 
climate, derived from the French 
acclimater, is preferred to acclimatize, 
which is now usual in Eng. (It is 
accented on the first and last syl- 
lables.) ‘Most of the teachers have 
become acclimated and used to life in 
the Phihppines.’ ‘Fifteen Head of 
Fresh Country and Acclimated Horses ’ 
(Advt.). ‘Milnes’s social method was 
the breakfast, and nothing could be 
more agreeable in England ; we cannot 
acclimate it here’ (Julian Haw- 
thorne, Hawthorne and his Circle, 

Hence, Am. accUmation = Eng. ac- 
dimatizcOwn^. ‘The life of a poor girl 
art student in the Latin quarter of 
Paris during the winter is not very 
comfortable. Acclimation is a long 
process there.’ 

accommodation. The plur,, oc- 
commodations, though used by Defoe, 
Boswell, and Jane Austen, is now 
unknown in Eng. but is still com- 
mon in Am. in msmy senses of the 
word. ‘Mr. Walter’s plan was to 

build out the east front and incideii 
tally to provide additional office ac 
eommodations.’ ‘If it does not bu 
goods, it must buy services — ^that is 
freights, insurance, tourists’ accom 
modations, &c.’ ‘In at least tw 
states It is forbidden by law to se] 
Pullman accommodations to Negroes 
(R. R. Moton, What the Negr 
Thinks, 75). ‘In Liverpool, luckily 
secured accommodations at th 
Adelphi Hotel. . . . Col. Stair hai 
secured accommodations for me oi 
the “Belgic”’ (Dr. Franklin H 
Martin, The Joy of Living, li. 465] 
‘No expenditure of Treasury fund 
means so much for national welfar 
as the contributions for postal ac 
eommodations’ (C. Kelly, U.S 
Postal Policy, 235). ‘This ban] 
offered few accommodations outsid 
the immediate vicinity. Its capita 
was subscribed in large part by loca 
merchants, and this fact caused Ihi 
directors to take care of their re 
quests in preference to those of others 
(G. T. Starnes, 60 Years of Brand 
Banking in Virginia, 23). 

An accommodation train, in Am., i 
a train that carries both passenger 
and goods, and stops at all, or nearh 
all, the stations on its route. ‘The 
care to keep out the air of the tunne 
appears to be greater upon the expresi 
trains than it is upon accommodatioi 
trains.’ R. de Baby (Land o 
Promise, 63) explains that this kinc 
of train earns its name by ‘obliging 
all the world it meets upon th< 

account. In Am. of no account h 
often abbrev. to no account, which thei 
becomes a hyphenated adj., in th< 
sense of valueless, worthless, ‘To-daj 
she throws aside the old-time no 
account steed, and insists on a hors< 
that is good looking.’ ‘What no 
accoimt characterless people do ii 
these concerns does not matter sc 
much, because their example carriei 
little weight.’ 

acquainted need not, in Am. coUoq 
use, be followed by with and mentior 




of the persons whose acquaintance is 
made. Thus, the writer of an account 
of the Chicago Rotary Club refers to 
the difficulty, in a club with a large 
membership, of ‘getting new mem- 
bers acquainted’. What he means is 
the difficulty of making them feel at 
home by becoming acquainted with 
their fellow members. He similarly 
remarks that a new member feels 
‘lost’ if his sponsors do not assume 
responsibility ‘for getting him ac- 

ffacross. The Am. expression put 
across is said to have been borrowed 
from the vocab. of the stage; e.g. 
‘Only action can get across the foot- 
lights to the girl with the gumdrop’ 
(F. J. Stimson, My U.S. 153). Thus 
put across = secure the adaption of, 
pass off, ‘ Every one of them admitted 
that only fear of imions had enabled 
them to put these measures across 
with directors and stockholders’ 
(Nokman Thomas, America’s Way 
Out, 252). ‘The wisest politician is 
one who knows when to yield or 
appeal, what he can “put across”, 
what the marginal voters necessary 
to his triumph are thinking and 
feeling’ (C. A. and W. Beakd, The 
Am. Leviathan, 107). ‘The adventi- 
tious aids which religion must call to 
its service to put its messages across’ 

( J. T, Flynn, God’s Gold, 397). 

adjunct is spec, used in Am. in the 
title adjunct professor, which denotes 
the holder of an academic post slightly 
inferior in rank to a full professorship. 
‘As a reward my title was advanced 
to adjunct professor’ (Prof. M. 
PupiN, From Immigrant to Inventor, 
291). ‘The next year he was made 
adjunct professor and in 1857 he was 
appointed professor of the* Eng. 
language’ (Diet. Am. Biog. xii. 269). 

administrate. Where administer 
would be used in Eng., administrate 
is sometimes preferred in Am. The 
latter word is so rarely used in Eng. 
that it is not even mentioned in the 

Shorter 0,E,D. The 0,E,D,, whose 
latest example is dated 1855, describes 
it as a by-form of administer, but 
only when followed by such words as 
sacrament, oath, medicine. In Am., 

^ as the following quotations show, it 
may have the meaning of manage, 
control, ‘The Dominican commission 
to administrate the debts of the 
island.’ ‘The expenses of admini- 
strating the land grant had been 
enormous’ (Prof. J. B. Hedges, 
Henry Villard and the Railways of 
the North West, 10). ‘ Several weeks 
later he handed me a full accounting 
of some small funds which he had 
been hoarding and administrating for 
the department’ (Prof. A. G. Keller, 
Reminiscences of William Graham 
Sumner, 108). 

administration. In Eng. what is 
now called the Government was once 
known as the Admimstration. (The 
0,E,D, gives quotations in this sense 
dated 1731, 1783, 1790, and 1840.) 
The latter word is still in occasional 
use among writers and speakers on 
public questions, but the man in the 
street nowadays would not know what 
you meant if you asked him whether 
he was for or against the Administra- 
tion, The earlier practice has survived 
in Am., where the term is applied to 
the President and his Cabinet. Thus, 
one speaks of the MacDonald Govern- 
ment but of the Roosevelt Admini- 
stration. An Am. college professor 
complained some years ago that when 
he announced a course of lectures on 
‘Administration’ nobody knew what 
he meant. The word had so generally 
come to indicate the personnel of the 
executive department that its prior 
meaning, as denoting the art of con- 
ducting the business of government, 
had been forgotten. In his Politics 
and Administration Prof. F. J. Good- 
now suggests that there is a reason 
why the Eng. ministry is called a 
government and the Am. an admini- 
stration. ‘For the one,’ he says, 
‘through its control of Parliament 
makes as well as administers laws; 




the other merely administers laws 
made by Congress. The one expresses 
as well as executes the will of the 
State; the other merely executes it.’ 
Hence we find such compounds as 
administration senator and administra- 
tion journal, meaning a senator and a 
journal supporting the administra- 
tion of the day. Similarly, administra- 
tion measure, ‘The weak-minded 
President was prevailed upon to make 
the bill an administration measure, 
and to bnng to its support the full 
power of that legalized bribery known 
as “patronage”’ (U. Sinclair, Ma- 
nassas, 8S). 

Ministry is not used in Am. as a 
synonym, for administration in this 
sense. See cabinet. 

admire is still occasionally used 
coUoq. in Am. in the sense of he 
pleased, very much like, now obs. in 
Eng., exc. in dial. ‘“Well, gentle- 
men,” said the sheriff, “I’ll be all 
ready to start for the North Fork in 
15 minutes, and I’d admire to have 
you all go along”’ (Andy Adams, 
The Outlet, 202). 

admit. An Am. lawyer is not catted 
to the bar but admitted to it. ‘Bill 
322 has been prompted by a sincere 
purpose to stiffen the test of qualifica- 
tion for admission to the bar.* ‘In 
January, 1885, 1 was admitted to the 
bar at Chattanooga’ (W. G. McAdoo, 
Crowded Years, 40). ‘He studied law 
and was admitted to the bar’ (E. D. 
Adams and J. C. Almagk, Hist, of 
U.S. 384). 

adviser is a technical term at Har- 
vard. J. Corbin, in a comparison of 
methods at Oxford and Harvard 
(An Am. at Oxford, 277), says of 
Harvard: ‘A board of advisers has 
been established, each member of 
which is supposed to have a helpful 
care of 25 freshmen. . . . His first 
duty IS to expound to his charges 
the mysteries of the elective system, 
and to help each student choose his 
courses. . . . When, as often happens, 
a proctor is also a freshman adviser. 

he unites the two administrative 
duties of an Eng. tutor.’ 

affiliate and affiliation are rarely 
used fig. in Eng. except to denote 
the relationship of colleges to a uni- 
versity and of branch societies to a 
central society. In Am. they are 
rarely used except fig. ‘I have not 
sought to find out the polities of a 
single one of you, and indeed as to 
the majority of you I have not the 
slightest idea what your political 
affiliations are’ (Pres. Theodore 
Roosevelt in a letter to the Panama 
Canal Commission). ‘Few of the 
settlers affiliated with the Catholic 
Church* (Prof. A. E. Martin, Hist, 
of U.S. i. 270). ‘Walter Page in the 
U.S. and Mr. Arthur J. Balfour in 
Great Britain were among those who 
seized the Venezuelan cnsis of 1896 
and the Spanish-Am. crisis of 1898 
as events upon which to base strong 
affiliations between the two great 
Eng.-speaking peoples’ (B. J. Hen- 
drick, The Earlier Life of Walter H. 
Page, 261). ‘She found the South 
uncongenial; she did not understand 
or affiliate with its people’ (Marie 
Van Vorst, Amanda of the Mill, 
115). In the last two examples the 
idea of a filial relationship seems to 
have been entirely superseded by that 
of association. Indeed, the Am. 
affiliate might frequently be repre- 
sented in Eng. by fraternize. As the 
above examples show, it is followed 
by with, not to. It is sometimes trans. 
also. ‘His views on government 
naturally affiliated him with the 
Federalists’ (J. Truslow Adams, 
Hist, of the Am. People to the Civil 
War, 188). 

after. Maria Edgeworth (Mme de 
Fleury, c. 1) has: ‘It was now half 
after four.’ Nowadays, in Eng., exc. 
in a few dial., this would be ‘half-past 
four*. In Am. after is still used in 
such connexions. ‘About half after 
twelve the roof of the building fell 
in.’ See of. 

agate. In Eng. used only as the 




name of a precious stone. In Am., 
also the prmter’s term for the type, 
intermediate between nonpareil and 
pearl, known in Eng. as rvby, ‘Rate 
$1.00 an agate line’ (Advt.). ‘The 
eye-ruining job of setting up a New 
Testament in agate with notes in 
pearl’ (Diet. Am. Biog. vii. 528). See 


agent is used in Am. in certain com- 
binations with meanings unknown in 
Eng. Business agent, which has only 
a general signification in Eng., is em- 
ployed spec, m Am. ‘Business agent 
is the title usually given to the general 
executive officer, formerly called the 
“walking delegate”, who represents a 
local [trade] union or council in its 
daily business and whose work con- 
sists for the most part in enforcing 
union standards and verbal or written 
agreements with the employer’ (En- 
cycl. Soc, Sci. iii. 91). ‘As a business 
agent he finds that he cannot go 
aroimd denouncing the employers all 
the time : he must bargain with these 
employers every day’ (P. Blanshard, 
Outline of the British Labor Move- 
ment, 132), 

Am. road agent is a euphemistic term 
for a highwayman, ‘It was thought 
he had considerable treasure on the 
stage, when, as a matter of fact, he 
had none. Hoad agents stepped out 
and stopped the team.’ ‘The com- 
bmation of mountain solitudes and 
valuable freighter lines inevitably 
produced sets of “road-agents” or 
highwaymen’ (A. Nevins, The Emer- 
gence of Modem Am. 140). 

Am. station agent = Eng. station 
master, ‘Many of those who were 
already on the platforms demanded 
their money back. The station agents, 
who are not permitted to refund, 
issued “blockade tickets”.’ ‘A belief 
that it is proper to tip waiters, taxi- 
cab drivers, and barbers, but under 
no circumstances station agents and 
ushers’ (W. Lippmann, Public Opin- 
ion, 99). ‘Himself a lover of things 
beautiful, he offered a prize annually 
to the station agent who should pro- 

duce the most attractive grounds’ 
(Diet. Am. Biog. x. 143). 

Am, ticket agent = Eng, hooking 
clerk, ‘In some places ticket agents 
refused to sell to Negroes railroad 
tickets to any Northern point’ (R. R. 
Moton, What the Negro Thinks, 58). 

See also claim. 

The Eng. newsagent is called in Am. 
a newsdealer. See news. 

falm. In its fig. sense the verb aim 
is followed in Eng. by at with the 
gerund. Am. retains the usage, now 
obs. in Eng., exc. in dial,, of following 
it by to with the infin. ‘It aims to 
provide a bnef introduction to 
Mohammedan law.’ ‘Johnson had 
aimed to settle down to the peaceful 
life of a small parish’ (Prof. H. W. 
Schneider, The Puritan Mind, 171). 
‘Mr. and Mrs. Adams aimed to create 
a social centre for New Englanders’ 
(The Education of Henry Adams, 101). 

air. In Am., long before the days of 
aviation, air line was a term in com- 
mon use. It denoted the shortest 
distance between two points; i.e. 
a hee line, ‘The judge held that 
distance was to be measured by air 
line or “as the crow flies”, not as the 
main traveled road leads.’ ‘As an air 
line the distance between the terminal 
ports of Sandy and Beaver canal was 
some 40 miles, but this stretch was 
increased to 60 by the necessity of 
following the watercourses and dodg- 
ing hills’ (H. Croly, Life of M. A. 
Hanna, 30). Hence certain railways 
were commonly called air lines be- 
cause of the directness of their routes* 
‘The public regards the purchase of 
the Seaboard Air Line as another 
serious step in the direction of rail- 
road consolidation.’ ‘Thousands 
speculated without the slightest know- 
ledge of the nature of the com- 
pany upon whose fortunes they were 
relying, like the people who bought 
Seaboard Air Line under the im- 
pression that It was an aviation 
stock’ (F. L. Allen, Only Yesterday, 
315, in an account of the speculation 
craze of* 1929). 




>ttThe Am. fig. term hot air corre- 
sponds to the Eng. mere vapouring, 
‘A prominent Dem. senator who 
always makes it a point to tell the 
truth whenever he says anything, and 
will not give out “hot air” inter- 
views.’ ‘When the Negro has met 
with discriminations and with diffi- 
culties because of his race, he has 
invariably tended to get up more 
steam. When this steam has been 
rightly directed and controlled, it has 
become a great force in the upbuilding 
of the race. If, on the contrary, it 
merely spent itself in fruitless agita- 
tion and hot air, no good has come 
of it’ (Booker Washington, My 
Larger Education, 4). 

In Am. the compound airplane is 
invariably preferred to aeroplane, 
‘In 1903 the first flight of more than 
500 feet was made by an airplane’ 
(C. A. and M. R. Beard, The Rise of 
Am. Civilization, ii. 754). 

aisle is used in Eng., exc. in a few 
dial., only of a division of a church or 
of a passage betw. rows of pews. In 
Am. it may denote almost any kind 
of gangway, whether in a train (where 
it corresponds to the Eng. corridor), or 
a theatre, or a shop. In a report of a 
railway accident occurring at night, 
one reads that passengers ‘were 
thrown from their berths into the 
aisles’. ‘The British fashion of having 
railway compartments instead of an 
undivided car with a nice long aisle’ 
(Sinclair Lewis, Dodsworth, 57). 
A theatre-goer is described as ‘sailing 
down the aisle just before the curtain 
rose for the matinee’. An Am. biog. 
sketch of H. G. Wells tells us that ‘his 
mother possessed no greater ambition 
for her sons than the aisles of a 
draper’s shop’. 

alderman* The alderman in an Am. 
municipality differs in important 
respects from the Eng. alderman. In 
Eng. he is elected by the councillors, 
but in Am. by popular vote, as repre- 
sentative of some particular ward. 
In Eng. the aldermen sit with the 
councillors as members of a single 

body* In many Am. cities they con- 
stitute a separate body, known as the 
board of aldermen, wMch serves as an 
upper house of the municipal govern- 
ment. The Am. alderman usually 
possesses some judicial powers also. 

all. In Am. usage the is often 
omitted where it would be required 
in Eng. after all. ‘The senator has 
been troubled with lumbago all 
summer.’ ‘People who had waited 
all morning for the sun to appear.’ 
‘I had written hard all morning’ 
(E. Poole, The Harbor, 221). ‘Dick 
Pye would be there all week’ (Sin- 
clair Lewis, Work of Art, 332). In 
Eng., however, one says ‘all day’ and 
‘ah night’. 

As though to compensate for this 
omission, of is inserted after all where 
it would be considered unnecessary 
in Eng. ‘Nowadays all of the nations 
of the world are neighbors one to 
the other’ (from an executive order 
issued by President Theodore 
Roosevelt). ‘All of Herrick’s geese 
were swans’ (T. B. Aldrich, Pon- 
kapog Papers, 169). ‘We find all of 
these influences active in increasing 
the modem vocabulary’ (J. B. 
Greenough and G. L. Kittredge, 
Words and Their Ways, 23). ‘There 
were insufficient Am. vessels to 
handle all of the traffic’ (Dr. J. H. 
Frederick, Development of Am, 
Commerce, 77). 

fAm. all of — Eng. fully, as much 
as, ‘He could hire a bomber to do 
an ordinary routine job with a black- 
powder bomb for HOO, but a risky 
job with a dynamite bomb might 
cost him all of $1,000’ (P. L, Allen, 
Only Yesterday, 268). 

Am. all over == Eng. everywhere. 
This is apparently an abbrev. of all 
over the world, all over the place. 
‘News Flashes From All Over’ (News- 
paper headline for a column of mis- 
cellaneous items). ‘They were so 
delighted to see her, they never 
scolded her a bit, for they’d been out 
hunting all over for her.’ 

The expression all the time is idio- 




matic in Eng., as Mr. H. W. Fowler 
points out in his Modern Eng, Usage, 
only when the time in question is a 
definite period fixed by the context. 
In Am. it is a synonym for always, 
‘It solemnly and all the time supports 
the Rep. party,’ ‘First, last, and all 
the time’ is a common political 

See also abound. 

alley^ in the Eng. sense of a narrow 
street, is commonly represented in 
Am, by alleyway, Ace. to the O.E,D., 
alley in Am. means a back-lane 
running parallel with a main street. 
Acc, to Dr. G. P. Krapp, in Am. 
alley commonly means ‘a narrow 
driveway between two rows of houses 
upon which there are stables, &c., 
sometimes spoken of as a hack alley'* 
(Comprehensive Guide to Good Eng. 
31). ‘A little street, or alleyway, is 
called (in Mexico) a callejon.’ ‘Our 
side of the cab is qmte cut off from 
the fireman’s side by a swelling girth 
of boiler, which leaves an alleyway 
at right and left wide enough for a 
man’s body’ (C. Moiffett, Careers of 
Danger, 382). 

allow is sometimes used coUoq. in 
Am. in the sense of assert, declare, 
affirm, ‘Absalom MagofiBn [an under- 
taker] would buttonhole you on the 
street and allow that, while he wasn’t 
a doctor, he had had to cover up a 
good many of the doctor’s mistakes 
in his time, and he didn’t just like 
your symptoms’ (G. H. Lobimeb, 
Old Gorgon Graham, 38). Acc. to 
Wright’s Dialect Did, an approach to 
this meaning may be found in certam 
Eng. dialects, where it = suppose, 

almost is used in Am. with the 
neg., where in Eng, one would say 
scarcely (or hardly) any, scarcely (or 
hardly) ever, &c. ‘The Act went 
through Congress with almost no one 
appreciatmg its true significance’ 
(Prof. N. W. Stephenson, Life of 
W. W. Aldrich, 189). ‘One of those 
Patricks who are almost never called 
Pat’ (S. O. Jewett, The Queen’s 

Twin, 73). ‘In this new outburst of 
municipal greed almost nothing 
escaped’ (Prof. C. E. Mebeiam, 
Chicago, 60). 

almshouse. ‘In the U.S. this term 
denotes a public institution for indoor 
relief of the poor. This type of institu- 
tion originated in Eng., where it is 
known as the workhouse; almshouse in 
Eng. refers to the private endowed 
home for aged indigents’ (Encycl. of 
the Social Sciences, ii. 8). The same 
article adds that, while almshouse is 
the generic term in Am. for public 
mstitutions for poor relief, the actual 
names vary according to locality. 
Thus, although almshouse is the legal 
name in New Eng. and is fairly con- 
sistently found in the East and South, 
in Ohio it is infirmary, in Indiana 
asylum, and in the Middle West poor 
house, poor farm, county farm, or 
county house. See wobkhouse. 

alternate. Used in Am. as a noun, 
in the sense of a duly accredited sub- 
stitute for a delegate. In electing 
representatives to political or religious 
conventions it is customary to pro- 
vide each member with an alternate 
to take his place in the event of his 
being unable to attend. The alternate 
does not fill any gap that happens to 
arise, but only that caused by the 
absence of the particular member for 
whom he is, so to speak, an under- 
study. While that member is pijesent, 
the alternate may attend the sessions, 
but without the right to speak or 
vote. Thus, in a report of the General 
Assembly of the Presbyterian Church 
we read that ‘nearly the entire body 
of commissioners, numbering 750, and 
their alternates of equal number, 
were present.’ ‘I knew that, as an 
alternate, I would not have a vote, 
but I would have a seat on the floor 
of the convention and be close to 
whatever happened’ (W. G. McAdoo, 
Crowded Years, 37). Substitute dele-* 
gate is the official term denoting a 
person appointed to attend the 
League of Nations Assembly on 
similar conditions. 




From Uiis use the word has come to 
have sometimes the general meaning 
of substitute or alternative, as when 
Prof. T. R. Lounsbury (The Standard 
of Pronunciation in English, 231) says 
that ‘the pronunciation of the final 
i of trait . . . appeared as an alternate 
in the Actionary of Latham’. 

aluminum. The name invariably 
given in Am. to the metal known in 
Eng. as aluminium, Acc. to the 0,E,D, 
it was for some time current in Eng., 
but ultimately the termination -ium 
came to be preferred as harmonizing 
best with such other names of ele- 
ments as potassium, magnesium, &c. 
‘Aluminum is a metal that combines 
strength and lightness.’ ‘The strange 
feather-weight metal called alu- 
minum’ (A, Nevins, Life of Henry 
White, 17). 

alumnus. In Eng. this word is 
rarely used, but m Am. it is the recog- 
nized term for a college graduate. 
‘Tuesday was alumni day at Yale, 
when hundreds of old graduates 
gathered in Alunrni Hall to listen to 
the annual report.’ ‘All the leading 
citizens of the town are alumni of the 
college’ (L. Lewisohn, Up Stream, 
99). ‘Alumni of Cambridge were 
liberally represented among the 
clergy [originally settling in Massa- 
chusetts], together with a few from 
Oxford’ (M. Grant, Conquest of a 
Continent, 83). ‘This attitude re- 
sulted in a devotion to the colleges 
and universities in Am. on the part 
of their alumni’ (Prof. A. H. Quinn, 
The Soul of Am. 117), All these 
quotations would be quite im-English 
though not, perhaps, un-Scottish, for 
a periodical issued from St. Andrews 
is called an Alumnus Chronicle, 

In Am. the term is also used of a 
school pupil who has completed his 
course. One may even come across 
a report of a reunion of the alumni 
of a Sunday school. ‘A man, not an 
alumnus of the school, once gave his 
impression of a typical St. Paul’s 
boy’ (F, J. Kinsman, Salve Mater, 
20 ). 

The feminine form alumna is equally 
common. ‘ He talked to the Radchffe 
alumnae on Jan. 13’ (E. C. Martin, 
Life of J. H. Choate, ii. 314). ‘Those 
lean and spinster fowls who ran away 
from home, like ambitious young 
alumnae’ (Christopher Morley, 
John Mistletoe, 40). ‘She was one 
of the members of the class of 1902 
to return for the alumnae fete in 
June 1930’ (R. W. Babson, Washing- 
ton and the Revolutionists, 89). 

amalgamation is spec, used in Am, 
to denote the racial admixture of 
whites and Negroes. ‘ He is attempt- 
ing to show the awfulness of amalga- 
mation, and, like most Southern 
writers upon that subject, he assures 
you on the one side that the Negro is 
so far below the white that amalgama- 
tion is an unthinkable evil, and at 
the same time in many pages warns 
his countrymen that amalgamation is 
a positive danger.’ 

ambulance. The meaning of the 
Am. term ambulance chaser is evident 
from the following quotations. ‘The 
receiver of one of the traction com- 
panies is leading a movement against 
the so-called “ambulance chasers”, 
or lawyers who make a business of 
promoting damage suits against rail- 
roads and street railways on the 
basis of contingent fees, which run 
from 20 to 50 per cent, of the amount 
of damages sought to be recovered.’ 
‘Six lawyers visited the home of a 
child run over and killed by an ex- 
press wagon and importuned the 
parents for permission to bring suit 
for damages against the company. 
The body of the unfortunate child 
had hardly been brought to the house 
before the “ambulance chasers”, as 
lawyers of this class are called, began 
to arrive.’ ‘A group of men, called 
‘common law” lawyers, were accus- 
tomed to group themselves around 
the portals of St. Paul’s Cathedral, 
somewhat in the manner of the am- 
bulance chaser of the present day, to 
ask employment from any litigant 
who needed a lawyer’ (Dr. J. M. 




Beck, May it Please the Court, 

112 ). 

angel. The Am. terms angel cake 
and angel food do not mean ambrosia, 
but a kind of spongy confectionery 
made of flour, sugar, and whites of 
eggs. ‘Angel cake, sponge cake, and 
ice-cream cake have conspired to 
relegate the seed cake to practical 
oblivion.’ ‘Angel food and sunshine 
cake, baked in pans made for the 
purpose, require a cool oven’ (Mrs. 
Borer’s New Cook Book, 19). 

Anglican means in Eng. pertaining 
to the Church of England, but in Am. 
it may mean English, Thus Scribner'* s 
Mag. describes Rhodes scholars from 
the Dominions as better prepared for 
Oxford than those from the U.S. in- 
asmuch as they have been educated 
‘acc. to the Anglican tradition’. A 
character in one of Ruth Hall’s 
novels ‘cultivated a throaty voice 
which she flattered herself was 
Anglican’. ‘In the United States a 
traveler may find at least three 
regions which are suitable abodes for 
country gentlemen in the strictly 
Anglican sense of the expression’ 
(Prof. C. E. Cason, in Culture in the 
South, 490). 

t antagonize. Though antagonist is 
quite common in Eng., antagonize is 
seldom used by good writers. In Am. 
it is in common use in the sense of 
oppose. In Eng., acc. to the O.E.D., 
antagonizing forces must be of the 
same kind, but in Am. a person may 
antagonize an impersonal force. ‘Dr. 
Bushnell antagonized theology and 
denied the rational possibility of it’ 
(Prof. L. O. Brastow, Representa- 
tive Modern Preachers, 148). It may 
also mean alienate, provoke the opposi^ 
tion of, ‘Lincoln antagonized the 
radicals fhrther by refusing to permit 
the enlistment of fugitive slaves ’ 
(Prof. A. E. Martin, Hist, of U.S. 
i. 717). ‘He had antagonized his 
benefactor by opposing his views in 
reference to the conduct of the Civil 
War, and by other similar indiscre- 

tions was making new enemies almost 
every day’ (Marian Gouverneur, 
As I Remember, 247). ‘Efficient 
though he was as a propagandist. 
Garrison had a talent for antagonizing 
even his supporters’ (Diet. Am. Biog. 
vii. 170). See H. W. Fowler’s dis- 
cussion of this word in Modern Eng. 

ante-bellum. Acc. to the O.E.D. 
Suppl., the term ante-bellum, when 
used in Eng., refers spec, to either the 
South African War or the European 
War. In Am. it refers to the Am. Civil 
War. ‘The best pictures extant of 
Southern life in the ante-bellum days.’ 
‘One day, when we were holding a 
meeting to secure funds for its erec- 
tion, an old, ante-bellum colored man 
came a distance of 12 miles, and 
brought in his ox-cart a large hog’ 
(Booker T. Washington, Up from 
Slavery, 140). ‘I remember among 
these an accomplished gentleman, 
who worked in Am. in the anti- 
slavery cause, m ante-bellum days’ 
(Dr. E. E. Hale, Lowell and his 
Friends, 138), ‘He wears a black 
ante-bellum bow tie’ (E, Wilson, 
The Am. Jitters, 23). 

anxious. Am. anxious seat or 
anxious bench — Eng. penitent form. 
‘It was among the yoimg men that 
Weld chiefly labored in the revivals, 
admonishing them at the anxious 
seat’ (Prof. G. H. Barnes, The Anti- 
slavery Impulse, 13). The term has 
supplied Am. with a common meta- 
phor; thus, on the anxious seat = on 
tenterhooks. ‘ All the men present were 
on the anxious seat, seeking to learn 
whether their new judge was “easy” 
or “ tough ” ‘ They have enough for- 
midable submarines to keep England 
on the anxious seat.’ 

any. In addition to its normal uses, 
any in Am. may mean at all, as also 
in certain Eng. dial. ‘An interesting 
speech followed which did not help 
matters any.’ ‘It is doubtfhl if his 
present condition could be bettered 
any.’ ‘Costa did not mind this any’ 




(Dr. H. P. Fairchild, Greek Immi- 
gration to U.S. 101). ‘Sumner was 
abused enough, and we all knew it. It 
failed to hurt him any, in our eyes’ 
(Prof. A. G. Keller, Reminiscences 
of William Graham Sumner, 44). 

tfAm. anyway = Eng. anyhow, in 
the sense of at any rate, in any case, 
‘That IS somethmg gained, anyway.’ 
‘Classical scholarship is not attain- 
able anyway m the secondary school’ 
(Prof. H. P. Hands, A Modern School, 
23). ‘Anyway, they were learning the 
language’ (The Education of Henry 
Adams, 76). ‘The real distinction 
between the two is not of great im- 
portance anyway’ (G. R. Sherrill, 
Crimmal Procedure in N. Carolina, 
25). ‘German representatives had to 
be in Geneva anyway to attend the 
sessions of the League’ (W. Lipp- 
MANN, The U.S. in World Affairs in 
1982, 254). 

apartment. In Eng. an apartment 
was once a suite of rooms The 
0,E,D, quotes Evelyn, the diarist, as 
describmg in 1641 his ‘new lodgings’ 
as ‘a very handsome apartment’. 
Nowadays an apartment is in Eng. a 
single room, and the original sense of 
the word is expressed by the plur. 
Thus, landladies at the seaside adver- 
tise ‘Apartments to Let’. The Am. 
apartment retains the earlier sense, 
and corresponds to the Eng. flat, 
while the Am. apartment hotel is what 
would be called in Eng. a block of 
service flats, ‘The tendency toward 
co-operative living, whether it be 
shown in boarding-house, hotel, and 
apartment living, or in the commun- 
ity co-operative Idtchen.’ ‘ The apart- 
ment hunter now has the selection of 
two modes of a life; the everyday 
housekeeping apartment and the 
apartment hotel.’ 

Accordingly, the Am. apartment and 
the French appartement mean the 
same thing. Prof. F^lix Boillot, 
however, tells us (Le Vrai Ami du 
Traducteur, 52) that some French 
hotels are beginning to call a single 
room un appartement. This Anglicism, 

he notes, usually carries with it a 
considerable inflation of the bill. 

appeal. In Am. the verb appeal is 
trans. as well as intrans. This use 
is obs. in Eng., as may be inferred 
from the fact that the latest example 
of it given by the O.E,D. is dated 
1590. ‘They do not improve their 
position by undertaking to appeal the 
rebating case on various grounds.’ 
‘Important suits are likely to be ap- 
pealed the second time from the 
middle courts to the State Supreme 
Court’ (Prof. A. B. Hart, Actual 
Government, 160). ‘Five times he 
appealed the case, always losing’ 
(Diet. Am. Biog. vi. 531). ‘These are 
the cases most often appealed to the 
Supreme Court’ (G. R. Sherrill, 
Criminal Procedure in N. Carolina, 3). 

appearing. ‘He is a very youthful 
appearing man.’ ‘An address by a 
very youthful appearing man of 
science’ (Mark Sullivan, Our Times, 
ill. 290). ‘As rough-appearing as her 
husband’ (H. Justin Smith, Chicago, 
27). This use of appearing, occasion- 
ally met with in Am., is unknown in 
Eng., where looking would be sub- 

tappointive. In Am. a post that 
is filled by appointment, in contrast 
with election, is described as appoin- 
tive, ‘High appointive posts under 
the federal government.’ ‘The Re- 
publicans bitterly resented Ells- 
worth’s resignation [of the Chief 
Justiceship], which had snatched 
from their very grasp the highest of 
appointive offices’ (Diet. Am. Biog. 
XU. 319). 

appraiser. A spec, use of this word 
in Am. is as the technical term for 
a Customs officer who appraises the 
value of goods subject to duty. ‘It 
falls to the appraiser’s office in each 
port to examine the goods, to see that 
they correspond with the invoices in 
quantity and quality, and that they 
are stated at their true values. The 
appraiser’s work is the most delicate 
in the whole system. By the act of 




1890 was created a body of general 
appraisers* A board made up of three 
of these appraisers has a final decision 
on the value of imported goods : from 
them no appeal can be taken, either 
to the secretary of the treasury or to 
the courts* (Prof. A. B. Hart, Actual 
Government, 400)* 

appreciate* In Am. often directly 
followed by that. ‘He appreciated 
that the existing laws, however soimd 
in purpose, were working an economic 
injustice’ (Prof. A. B. Darling, 
Public Papers of F. G. Newlands, 
i. 89). Acc. to Eng. idiom, this would 
be ‘He appreciated the fact that’. ‘I 
appreciate that, if this were a juridical 
question, these provisions would not 
be applicable’ (J. M. Beck, May it 
Please the Court, 814). 

appropriate. ‘It is only a few years 
smce the fact that a billion dollars 
had been appropriated by one Con- 
gress aroused the nation’ (H. L. 
West, in the Forum, April 1904). 
No wonder that the country should 
be stirred, an Englishman might 
naturally reflect, if Congress stole so 
big a sum as that. His poor opinion 
of the honesty of Congressmen would 
be confirmed on findmg Prof. R, T. 
Ely (The Evolution of Industnal 
Society, 317) expressing his ‘doubt 
whether we shaU ever again see a 
Congress appropriating so small a 
sum as 1,000 million dollars’. A 
correct understanding of what is 
meant, however, leaves Congress 
without a stain on its character. It 
had simply been votmg public money 
for various public purposes. In Eng. 
appropriate and appropriation are 
sometimes used in the same sense, 
but only with an indication of the 
purpose to which the money is de- 
voted. To appropriate, without such 
qualification, is to take for oneself. 

The word appropriation is so common- 
ly understood to mean a vote of money 
by Congress that it may even be used 
without any mention of Congress at 
all. Thus, in one of his annual re- 
ports, the Librarian of Congress says : 

‘The following table exhibits the 
appropriations and expenditures of 
the Library for the fiscal year.’ Here 
appropriations practically ~ income, 
for it means the financial provision 
made by Congress for the upkeep of 
the Library. It was not the Library, 
but Congress, that appropriated this 
money in the Am. sense. 

apt. ‘When these reverend gentle- 
men appear at the bar of God, in 
company with Booker Washington, 

I which of them will be the most apt to 
! receive the golden crown?’ ‘The 
incident is not apt to be followed by 
international complications.’ ‘The 
disaster is apt to result in a system of 
inspection that will inspect.’ In each 
of these instances an Eng. paper 
would have used likely instead of apt. 
In Eng. apt always suggests a general 
or habitual tendency. It is not used 
in a hypothetical prediction of what 
will happen in a particular case. 
Thus, an Englishman woifid say, ‘I 
am apt to catch cold if I go out with- 
out my overcoat’, but, ‘I shall be 
likely to catch cold if I go out to-night 
without my overcoat’. 

arbo(u)r. In every State of the 
Union, as well as in the Distnct of 
Columbia, there is observed every 
year, either by Governor’s proclama- 
tion or by law, an Arbor Day, dis- 
tmguished by the planting of trees, 
esp. in connexion with schools. 
‘Arbor Day is being celebrated in the 
schools of Greater N.Y. to-day, as 
well as throughout the State. In the 
suburbs and at other schools where 
there is space about the buildings, 
trees were set out, or shrubs, where 
the space is limited. In the East Side 
and other congested districts, where 
there is no room for anything but the 
building and paved playgrounds, 
flower seeds were planted in window 
boxes, that the object of the day, the 
inculcation in the children’s minds of 
a love for natural scenes and objects, 
might be fiirthered,’ ‘Arbor Day was 
first observed in Nebraska, on 
April 10, 1872, on which occasion 




more than 1,000,000 trees were 
planted’ (World Aim. for 1933, 71). 
A similar celebration, bearing the 
same name, has since been adopted in 
South Australia. 

arctic sometimes means in Am. a 
kind of overshoe, esp. suitable for 
wearing when snow is on the ground. 
It is mainly of rubber, but with a 
cloth top. ‘The citizen who thought 
a big fall of snow was impending and 
went out to invest in a new pair of 

Argonauts. In Am. this name has 
been borrowed from classical legend 
to denote the adventurers who made 
their way to California durmg the 
gold rush of 1849. A book of Bret 
Harte’s about them was entitled 
‘Tales of the Argonauts’. This use of 
the word was more appropriate than 
one might perhaps suppose, for at 
that time three of the routes to the 
goldfields from the Eastern States 
involved passages by water — one of 
them a voyage round the Horn, 
occupying from six to nine months. 

In more recent times the name has 
been given to the adventurers who 
sought for gold in the Klondike. It is 
in this sense that it is employed in 
the following passage: ‘Taxing all 
available means of water transport 
northward, the argonauts braved in* 
credible hardships presented by a 
frozen and forbidding country in 
order to reach the new El Dorado’ 
(Prof. A. M. ScHLESiNGER, The Rise 
of the City, 480). 

armo(u)ry. In Eng., a place where 
arms are stored. In Am., also a place 
where arms are made, a gun factory or 
gun foundry, ‘Nearly all local his- 
torians have given Gen. Washington 
the credit for the selection of the 
present site for the armory, but from 
the letters discovered it appears that 
he selected the town as a proper place 
for the naaking and storage oif muni- 
tions of war, rather than to indicate 
the site of the plant.’ ‘He became 
superintendent of the armory of the 

Providence Tool Co. In the course of 
his service he brought the manufac- 
ture of Springfield rifles to a high 
point of efficiency’ (Diet. Am. Biog. 
IX. 286). 

An Am. armory also serves the pur- 
poses of an Eng. drill hall, ‘Allan 
discussed it one night with his cousin 
Jack, chancing to meet him coming 
home from the armory. He was on 
his way home from drill’ (U. Sin- 
clair, Manassas, 249). The word is 
often used in this sense in India. 

army. It is important not to con- 
fuse the U.S. Army with the Grand 
Army of the Republic (or Grand Army), 
which IS something entirely different. 
The latter is an organization of ex- 
soldiers who fought on the Union 
side in the Civil War. It has some- 
times exerted great political influ- 
ence. ‘In every city or town where 
a Grand Army post is located, the 
veterans marched to the cemeteries 
and held memorial exercises.’ ‘Most 
hticians would as soon think of 
ra-kiri as offending the Grand 
Army by vetoing a pension bill.’ 
‘The million or more soldiers who had 
fought for the Union, organized into 
the Grand Army of the Republic, be- 
came a political unit’ (Prof. A. H. 
Quinn, The Soul of Am. 91). ‘I 
never had a better time than in 1888 
when the Grand Army of the Re- 
public spent a week with us. There 
were 70,000 of them in Columbus that 
throbbing hot September’ (Julia B. 
Foraker, I Would Live it Again, 
111 ). 

around. In Eng. around, as an 
adv., means on every side, in every 
direction, and, as a prep., on all sides 
of, in every direction from. In Am. 
it is also used where round would be 
used in Eng., as in ‘The Little Church 
Around the Corner’. 

Hence Am. alUaround » Eng. all- 
round, ‘The all-around lawyer still 
exists, but the most eminent lawyers 
are those who have specialized,’ 
‘The most comprehensive and the best 
all-around Am, city school exhibit is 




undoubtedly that of N.Y.’ ‘The all- 
around experience which goes to make 
up the skilled journalist’ (Willis J. 
Abbot, Watching the World Go By, 

Another special Am. use is as an 
equivalent for about. ‘Around 600,000 
copies were sold’ (Diet. Am. Biog. 
VI. 102). ‘The convention adjourned 
around 4 o’clock’ (W. G. McAdoo, 
Crowded Years, 158). 

ascension. In Eng. one speaks of 
a balloon ascent, but in Am. of a 
balloon ascension. ‘The boy balloon- 
ist made an ascension this evening in 
spite of an injunction secured by his 
parents to restrain him.’ ‘On a cer- 
tain Sunday afternoon there was to 
be a balloon ascension at the great 
pleasure park’ (C. Moffett, Careers 
of Danger and Darmg, 125). ‘In the 
1880’s almost every circus that 
visited the little Southern towns made 
a big feature of a balloon ascension’ 
(W. G. McAdoo, Crowded Years, 521). 

In other connexions also, ascension 
seems to be the Am. preference. ‘The 
final steps which led to the wrecking 
of his party and the ascension to 
power of Woodrow Wilson’ (H. F. 
Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt, 545). 

aside. Am. aside from — Eng. 
apart from, in addition to, except for. 

‘ Others aside from Mr. Markham 
might confess their indebtedness to 
certain appreciative reviewers.’ ‘A- 
side from a severe fright, Mr. Hough- 
ton was uninjured.’ ‘The Depart- 
ment is without information con- 
cerning the unsettled condition in 
Cuba, aside from press dispatches.’ 
‘Aside from the wars in Europe which 
brought on wars in Am., the history 
of the colonies durmg the first part 
of the 18th century is uneventful’ 
(Prof. H. E. Bourne, The Teaching 
of History, 303). The Christian En- 
deavour Society unconsciously pro- 
claimed its Am. origin by requiring 
from its members a pledge to take 
some part ‘aside from singing’ in 
every meeting. 

Assembly is the name of the Lower 
House of the Legislature in several of 
the Am. States. A member of such 
a House is called an Assemblyman. 

assignment is often used in Am. 
where appointment or commission 
would be used in Eng. ‘He had the 
missionary instinct and went into the 
Presbyterian ministry, receiving as- 
signments m various parts of the 
mining camp West.’ ‘His War as- 
signments included official missions 
to Archangel and Vienna, service 
with the Peace Conference at Ver- 
sailles, and the post-War famine- 
relief expedition to Moscow’ (H. J. 
CooLiDGE and R. H. Ford, Archibald 
Cary Coolidge, viii). ‘He persuaded 
her to write a life of Napoleon. Her 
researches had familiarized her with 
the background of the period, and 
she accepted the assignment’ (Dr. 
C. C. Regier, The Era of the Muck- 
rakers, 122). 

fThe word is esp. used of a spec, 
task allotted to a newspaper reporter. 
‘The first “assignment” I ever had 
as a N.Y. reporter was to go to Dela- 
ware to see a woman whipped ’ 
(Julian Ralph, The Making of a 
Journalist, 126). ‘One of his early 
assignments was to interview Coxey’ 
(Dr. C. C. Regier, op. cit. 14T), 
‘After finishing his afternoon assign- 
ment and getting a hasty dinner, the 
reporter usually receives an evening 
assignment’ (E. L, Shuman, Practical 
Journalism, 51). 

In Am. colleges assignment denotes 
a course of reading or some other 
spec, piece of work that a student is 
instructed to carry out. ‘Our pre- 
sent-day fashion of gi ving the under- 
graduates their assignments of read- 
ing in homeopathic doses.’ ‘College 
libraries, where young men, after they 
had read the assignments in the 
Puritan classics required by their 
innocent old tutors, discovered a 
totally different learning in the best 
Eng. authors of the day’ (Prof. H. W, 
Schneider, The Puritan Mind, 158). 
‘Enough matenal is presented to 




form a complete course, although the 
references at the end of each chapter 
will be found useful for class assign- 
ments ’ (Dr. J, H. Frederick, The 
Development of Am, Commerce, 

The term assignment of wages is 
peculiar to Am., and denotes a dis- 
tmetively Am. practice, by which 
part of his future earnings is mort- 
gaged, so to speak, by a working-man 
to a creditor. ‘A grocer has advanced 
credit to a railway worker and has 
taken as security an assignment of 
the workman’s future wages.’ ‘His 
office [the office of a money-lender] 
had a record of some 800 assignments 
of wages in one year, most of which 
are made by young, unmarried men.’ 

associate. Frequently applied in 
Am., esp. in the compounds associate 
editor and associate professor, to an 
official junior who is regarded as a 
colleague rather than a subordinate. 
It therefore denotes a higher status 
than that of an assistant. * The board 
of trustees of the City College has 
divided the teaching force into five 
classes, as follows ; Professors, associ- 
ate professors, assistant professors, 
instructors, and tutors.’ ‘He will be 
called as Extraordinarius (reader or 
lecturer, as the Eng. would say, 
associate professor, as one would say 
in Am.) to Tubingen or Graz’ (Dr. A. 
Flexner, Universities, 324). The 
succession of grades may be traced in 
some of the careers recorded in Who^s 
Who in Am,; e,g. ‘on editorial staff 
of St. Nicholas since 1873; assistant 
editor, 1878; associate editor, 1893- 
1905, and editor in chief since 1905.’ 

at. The Am. jocose use of a super- 
fluous at is illustrated in the following 
examples. ‘The business world wants 
rest. It wants to know where it is at.’ 
‘Suppose a subway should happen to 
be fiUed with the requisite combina- 
tion of gas and air for an explosion, 
and defective insulation or a short 
circuit should furnish a connecting 
link — ^where would we passengers be 

at?’ ‘It IS amazing that Dem. 
leaders could have allowed them- 
selves and their organization to be 
brought to this pass without know- 
ing where they were at.’ 

Am. at auction = Eng. hy auction, 
‘The property was recently sold at 
auction for non-payment of taxes.’ 
‘A collection of books that was to be 
sold at auction’ (Prof. N. W. Stephen- 
son, Nelson W. Aldrich, 424). ‘The 
trustees must sell the property at 
auction’ (Prof. L. J. Sherrill, 
Presbyterian Industrial Schools, 95). 

Am. at retail, at wholesale = Eng. 
hy retail, hy wholesale, ‘For the one 
farmer who sells vegetables at retail, 
there are 50 who sell at wholesale’ 
(L. F. Carr, Am. Challenged, 248). 

attorney is a word in much more 
frequent use in Am. than in Eng. It 
must be remembered that in Am. the 
legal profession is not divided, as in 
Eng., into barristers and solicitors. 
The word hamster is unknown, and 
SOLICITOR (q.v.) is not used in the 
Eng. sense. The technical designation 
of a fully qualified lawyer in Am. is 
‘attorney and counselor-at-law’. ‘ Then 
it was that he seriously undertook the 
practice of law, receiving his appoint- 
ment as attorney and counselor at 
law’ (B. A. Konkle, Life of Joseph 
Hopkmson, 6). ‘I had reported trials 
in courts while seeing and hearing 
the judges, the attorneys, and the 
prisoners’ (L. Steffens, Autobiog. 

The Am. district attorney or circuit 
attorney is a public prosecutor, ‘Both 
the present district attorney in N.Y. 
City and the circuit attorney in St. 
Louis have earned a well-deserved 
reputation by obtaining evidence on 
their own initiative against gamblers, 
blackmailers, and other criminals, in 
addition to performing their ordinary 
duty of presenting that evidence to 
the courts.’ ‘He became circuit 
attorney, the prosecuting officer of 
the St. Louis district’ (L. Steffens, 
Autobiog. 369). 

The status and functions of the 




Attorney-General of the U.S, differ in 
important respects from those of the 
Eng. Attorney-General. (1) He is 
always a member of the President’s 
Cabinet, in which he ranks after the 
Secretaries of State, War, and the 
Treasury. He is accordingly dis- 
qualified from membership of either 
House of Congress. (21 Since 1870, 
in addition to his duty of advising the 
President on legal points and his 
responsibility for prosecuting all 
Supreme Court suits in which the U.S. 
is concerned, he has been the head of 
a Department of Justice. 

Each State has also an Attorney- 
General, who gives legal advice to the 
Governor and other State officers, and 
appears for the State in civil and 
criminal cases. In most instances he 
is directly elected at the general State 

The title is also sometimes loosely 
applied to officers of much less 
dignity and importance. Thus, a 
former Governor of the Philippines, 
Luke E. Wright, is sometimes said 
to have previously been Attorney- 
General of Tennessee. ‘Hon. Luke E. 
Wright’, a Nashville paper explains, 
‘was for eight years State’s Attorney 
of the Cnminal Court of Shelby 
County. It is a practice peculiar to 
Tennessee to dub all State’s Attor- 
neys Attomeys-General.’ 

auditorium is seldom used in Eng. 
exc. in connexion with theatres. If, 
on entering an Eng. building that 
contained a concert hall, one were to 
ask to be directed to the auditorium, 
the chances are that one would not 
be understood. In Am. it is the 
normal term for a hall m which per- 
formances are given or meetings are 
held. ‘The auditorium of the City 
Hall is thought to be large enough 
for the convention itself.’ ‘The 
interior of the church is divided into 
an auditorium, Sunday school-room, 
and pastor’s study on the first floor.’ 
‘The large auditorium was used for 
lectures, concerts and various public 
meetings,’ ‘As a rule, all the pupils 

of the ordinary city school do the 
same thing at the same time. In the 
morning, they meet in the audi- 
torium for general exercises’ (Dr. C. C. 
Boyeb, Hist, of Education, 447). 

automobile. In Am., automobile is 
commonly preferred to motor-car, the 
term which is in general use in Eng, 
(In Am., however, car, without prefix, 
IS common in this sense.) The word 
may sometimes be found as a verb. 
‘Here is a hat for the skating girl and 
the automobiling woman.’ 

It is often abbrev. to auto, ‘The 
things that money will buy — food, 
clotffing, autos, houses, lands and all 
the rest’ (E. B. Chaffee, The Pro- 
testant Churches and the Industrial 
Crisis, 86). 

Hence Am. auto-bu$— lS>ng.motor-bus, 
and Am. auUyist = Eng. motorist, ‘In 
Paris, Berlin and London the auto-bus 
has come into extensive use as a means 
of transportation ’ (H. M. Pollock and 
W, S. Mobgan, Modern Cities, 6). ‘ The 
young lawbreakers who stone autoists.’ 

avail. Am. avail of = Eng. avail 
oneself of, ‘The anxiety of sellers to 
avail of prices which look very high.’ 
‘The amount of sulphuric acid 
availed of by a country is a very fair 
measure of its civilization.’ ‘The 
class availed of the departing pro- 
fessor’s hospitality’ (M. A, de W. 
Howe, Life of Barrett Wendell, 28). 
•This usage may be found in Shake- 
speare (Measure for Measure, iii. i), 
but it is now commonly regarded as 
a solecism in Eng. 

In Am, available and availability 
(togjether with unavailable and un- 
availability) have two spec, meanings 
unknown in Eng. (1) The term avail- 
able is applied to a MS. which an 
editor is willing to accept. ‘All you 
get is his printed slip of regret that 
your matter is not quite available.’ 
An Eng. editor would reply that it 
"woB unsuitable, ‘A leading activity of 
the Post Office is the carrying of im- 
solicited and unavailable manuscripts.’ 
‘Those members of the editorial tribe 
whose lot it is to receive and decide 




upon the availability of manuscripts 
sent in by authors.’ (2) In Eng. if it is 
said that a certain person is not avail- 
able as a candidate for Parliament or 
for a particular office, the meaning is 
that either he lacks certain prescribed 
qualifications or that he is precluded 
from becoming a candidate by ill 
health, the obligations of his business, 
or what not. It often happens that 
the man thus described would be the 
strongest possible candidate if cir- 
cumstances allowed him to stand. In 
Am., on the other hand, a politician 
is pronounced unavailable — ^though 
he may be quite free and anxious to 
enter the contest — ^if he is considered 
unlikely to be a popular candidate. 
‘The reluctance of both Democrats 
and Republicans to nominate him 
has been an illustration of the way 
in which what is called availability is 
preferred to character and efficiency.’ 
‘Root’s speech put an additional 
weight of unavailability on Root as 
a Presidential possibility’ (Mark 
S tJLLiVAN, Our Times, iii. 281). ‘It is 
a commonplace of our modern politics 
that nothing is more likely to make 
a distinguished and very able man 
unavailable, as the saying is, as candi- 
date for the presidency than to have 
shown marked capacity for leadership 
and to have taken a pronounced 
stand on any important question 
which excites difference of opinion 
and arouses popular feeling ’ (Dr. N. M. 
Butler, Between Two Worlds, 367). 

avenue. In an address reported in 
The Times of July 12, 1983, Sir 
William Beach Thomas deplored the 
‘urban mind’, which prefers the 
cinema to the nightmgale and prefers 
streets to avenues. This distinction 
would scarcely be understood in Am., 
for while m &g. the name of avenue 
is usually reserved for a road bor- 
dered by trees, in Am. any wide 
street, though quite bare of trees, 
may bear tMs name. In a consider- 
able part of N.Y., for instance, the 
main purpose of the term seems to be 
to mark the distinction between 

thoroughfares running N. and S., 
winch are called avenues^ and those 
running E. and W,, which are called 

avocation. In Eng. often incor- 
rectly used as a synonym for vocation. 
In Am. always used in its proper 
sense of a pursuit apart from a man’s 
occupation or calling. ‘Ten volumes 
in ten years is not a bad record, when 
we consider that their author was by 
vocation a journalist and a man of 
letters only by avocation’ (W. M. 
Payne, Editorial Echoes, 281). ‘Avo- 
cations held a considerable place in 
Mr. McLaughlin’s life. He delighted 
in hunting, fishing, fine dogs, and 
flowers’ (Dr. H. Zink, City Bosses in 
U.S. 192). ‘In England men have 
more avocations, more amusements, 
more interests outside of the daily 
round of pressing business than with 
us. These avocations demand leisure’ 
(Price Collier, England and the 
English, 147). In the same book we 
are told of London society that, while 
its vocation is amusement, its avoca- 
tion is politics. 

away. Am. away = Eng. a long 
way in such expressions as away 6c- 
h%nd, away down, away off, away up, 
‘Manufacturers of all good cars are 
away behind in their deliveries.’ 
‘While New York stands an easy 
second, Boston is away down in the 
21st place.’ ‘Away off on the coast 
of Norway.’ ‘Turkeys are away up 
m price.’ See way. 

Am. away hack = Eng. as long ago 
as, ‘Away back in February bids 
were asked for the construction of a 
preliminary plant.’ ‘ He insisted upon 
this away back in the Revolution’ 
(W. F. Johnson, A Century of Ex- 
pansion, 81). 

See also get, give. 


baby, t^or baby carriage and baby 
coojch, see the following quotations. 
‘It gave a chance for a lot of jokes 




which were so distinctively British 
that a baby carriage was called a “per- 
ambulator”.’ ‘Eng. baby coaches. 
For Eng, babies, Am. babies, or any 
other kind. But the carriages are 
a distinctly Eng. idea — ^they dub 
them “Perambulators’” (Advt.). 
‘Another room serves as a store- 
house for bicycles and baby-carriages’ 
(H. M. PouLOCK and W. S. Morgan, 
Modern Cities, 50). 

In Am. plead the baby act = plead 
infancy as a legal defence. The ex- 
pression is sometimes used fig. m the 
sense of excusing oneself on the 
ground of professed inexperience. 
‘One minute reading the riot act of 
manly independence, and the next 
pleacUng the baby act of thoughtless 

back* Am. back and forth == Eng. 
to and frOy backwards and forwarS, 
‘How our great men do switch back 
and forth!’ ‘The railroad made it 
possible for Mr. Cook to go back and 
forth to his law office’ (S. Glaspell, 
The Road to the Temple, 14). ‘In- 
vectives were thrown back and forth 
across the chamber by Northern and 
Southern members’ (Prof. A. E. 
Martin, Hist, of U.S., i. 609). In 
Eng. forth is now somewhat archaic, 
but the expression forth and back is 
in use in certain Eng. dial. 

Am. back of = Eng. at the back of, 
behind, ‘Each speaker told what the 
organization back of him wanted.’ 
‘Various motives were back of this 
reversal of policy’ (Prof. H. Robin- 
son, Development of British Empire, 
25). ‘The security back of the de- 
bentures of the intermediate banks’ 
(Prof. E. S. Sparks, Agricultural 
Credit in U.S. 387). ‘Back of this 
contest was the belief of the Eng. 
people that etc.’ (J. M. Beck, May 
it Hease the Court, 309). Acc. to 
Dr. Fitzedward Hall (N.Y. Nation, 
May 25, 1893) this usage crossed the 
Atlantic from Ireland. 

In Am, back is used much more than 
in Eng. in compound words, with or 
without a hyphen. 


Am. back district = Eng. country 
district, out-of-the-way district, ‘Rugs 
made by country women in the back 

The Am. term bacJ^re is defined by 
Webster as a fire started ahead of a 
forest or prairie fire to burn only 
against the wind, so that when the 
two fires meet both must go out for 
lack of fuel. It is often used fig. 
‘The backfire at the labor leader is 
the shrewdest kind of political tactics.’ 
‘Neither suggestion seems to have 
been made very seriously, exc. m so 
far as a hope is entertained that a 
backfire may be started against the 
movement for the election of senators 
directly by the people.’ 

A big log placed at the back of an 
open fire is called in Am. a backlog. 
The word is often used fig. ‘Once 
upon a time, in a good old-fashioned 
country home, the father in a rather 
peremptory fashion ordered his son 
to go out and bring in the backlog.’ 
‘It should be quite as bad form to 
leave a will without mention of some 
benevolent institution as in more 
conservative days it was to transfer 
an estate unprovided with some 
modest “backlog” of Government 

f f To be a back number is to be out of 
date, on the shelf, ‘He was told by 
some astute Hill men that he really 
ought to remain at the head of the 
committee, and that the talk about 
his being a back number was manu- 
factured by Republicans.* 

Am. backpay = Eng. arrears of pay. 
‘He gives a pathetic account of the 
sufferings of the circus employees, 
and adds that nearly 200 claims for 
back pay have been left with the 
consulate.’ ‘He had to go into hiding 
to escape a band of Revolutionary 
soldiers who had not received their 
back pay’ (Prof. T. J, Grayson, 
Leaders and Periods of Am. Finance, 

Am. back rent = Eng. arrears of 
rent, ‘Smith urged that houses used 
by the Government should be re- 
turned to their owners, and he advised 





the payment of back rent to help the 
sufferers and to stop evil reports’ 
(Dr. O, T. Baeck, N.Y. During the 
War for Independence, 88). 

Am. hack salary ^ 'Eia.g, arrears of 
salary » ‘It is a disgrace to the city 
that he should be compelled to sue 
for back salary.’ ‘Gruett was seeking 
$28,000 from Pierce in alleged back 
salary’ (S. H. Acheson, Joe Bailey, 

In Eng. a backstop (more frequently 
long stop) is a cricketer who, in fielding, 
is placed at a considerable distance 
behind the wicket-keeper. In Am. 
baseball it denotes a barrier placed 
behind the catcher to stop balls that 
he fails to catch. ‘Anybody who 
wishes to see the scores can find them 
painted up on the backstop of the 
baseball field.’ 

Am. hack taxes « Eng. arrears of 
taxes. ‘The various corporations in 
this city which have been fighting the 
law owe in back taxes and accrued 
interest $24,008.’ ‘Much of the 
money was used to pay up back 
taxes, which were required to be paid 
before a citizen could vote* (D. L. 
Colvin, Prohibition in D.S. 346). 

The Am, expression hack and fill = 
Eng. shilly-shdlly, vacillate. This is a 
nautical metaphor. Its original sense 
is thus defined by the Century Diet . ; 
‘To get a square-ngged vessel to 
windward in a narrow channel, when 
the wind is against the tide and there 
is no room for tacking, by alternately 
filling and backing the sails so as to 
make the ship shoot from one side 
of the channel to the other while 
being carried on by the tide.’ ‘This 
time the editor backed away, but filled 
and came up with his answers.’ ‘The 
engine was backmg and filhng on a 
side-track.’ ‘A decade had now been 
consumed in useless backing and 
filling on the money question’ (Prof. 
D* C. Baerett, Greenbacks and 
Specie Payments, 180), ‘It seems 
absurd now in reviewing the corre- 
spondence to see how much backmg 
and filling there was, with varymg 
opinions and suggestions, before the 

final title was adopted’ (H. J. 
Coolidge and R. H. Lord, Archi- 
bald Cary Coolidge, 311). 

bad. Used in Am. in two special 
senses. The Bad Lands are a certain 
barren region m the West, to which 
the name of mauvatses terres was 
given by the early French explorers. 
‘He returned yesterday from a trip 
of three months spent in the “Bad 
Lands” of Dakota and Wyoming, 
searching for the remains of extinct 
animals and fishes.’ ‘A blizzard of 
Bad Lands intensity.’ 

The term had man is also of Western 
origin. It denotes a desperado^ who 
is given to a free use of his ‘gun’, 
‘I was reminded of the way in which 
Western “bad men” make a tender- 
foot dance by shooting all around his 
feet.’ ‘He even appointed a typical 
“bad man” — ^that is, manslayer — ^to 
office as proof of his fondness for 
Anzona and his thoroughly democra- 
tic sympathy with the man who is 
down.’ ‘He had been in the West for 
only a short time when he had his 
first encounter with a bad man. . . • 
The bad man advanced brandishing 
his six-shooter’ (H. F. Pringle, 
Theodore Roosevelt, 101). 

bag. To set one's hag seems to be 
the Am. equivalent of the Eng. to set 
one's cap, except that the ambition is 
political rather than hymeneal. ‘Lim- 
din urged him to set his bag for the 
office of mayor and promised to direct 
the campaign if he would run’ 
(Dr. H. Zink, City Bosses in U.S, 281). 
‘The office of coroner paid handsome- 
ly in the seventies of t3ie last century; 
tnerefore, Croker set his bag for the 
office and in 1878 received election’ 
(op. cit. 131). 

baggage. The O.E.D. gives quota- 
tions for this word ranging from 1430 
to 1766. In Eng., though remaining 
in use among military men, it has 
otherwise become obs., having been 
superseded by luggage^ but in Am. it 
is still the normal term for a traveller’s 
belongings. ‘The large amount of 




baggage which the Am. traveler is 
allowed to carry puts a heavy burden 
upon the railroad.’ See bund. 

Hence baggageman, baggage-smasher 
(a facetious term for the same person), 
baggage-master, baggage-car, baggage- 
check, and baggage-room. *A Minne- 
sota university man’s trunk was so 
chock full of learning that it blew 
up in Kansas City and bruised a 
baggageman.’ ‘ I went to work at one 
of the steamboat piers as a baggage- 
man — sometimes lovingly referred to 
as a “baggage-smasher”’ (Owen 
Kildaee, My Mamie Rose, 242). 
‘The baggage-master, spinning a 
trunk dexterously into rank with its 
fellows’ (R. W. Chambers, The 
Fighting Chance, 2). ‘The baggage 
car was derailed and badly split.’ 
‘Piled high in the baggage-room is 
a multitude of trunks.’ See luggage. 

bakery denotes in Am. not only a 
place where baking is done but a 
place where baked products are sold. * I 
bought my luncheon at a different 
bakery every day’ (Kate Douglas 
WiGGiN, My Garden of Memory, 112). 
‘I ate nothing till evening when I 
went into a bakery* (L. Lewisohn, 
Up Stream, 122). 

balance. The 0,E.D. describes 
balance as ‘commercial slang’ when 
meaning the remainder, the rest. In 
Am. this use has gained a lugher 
status. ‘About 1890 he retired from 
business. He spent the balance of his 
life in travel ’ (Diet. Am. Biog. vi. 129). 
‘A settler could buy smaller tracts of 
land, paying down only 50 cents an 
acre, the balance of a-dollar and a half 
an acre being nominally spread over 
four years’ (J. Truslow Adams, 
The Epic of Am. 126). 

balcony. For Am. use, see quota- 
tion. ‘The dress circle [in an Eng. 
theatre], analogous to our balcony, 
has stall seats at ten and six, with 
the rear ones slightly cheaper,’ 

. ball is often used attrib. in Am. in- 
stead of baseball*, less frequently. 

instead ot football. ‘The tariff set an 
apathetic House cheering like rooters 
at a ball game.’ ‘The ball park was 
crowded with spectators when the 
game between Louisville and Toledo 
was called.’ ‘I went to my desk every 
morning with the eagerness of a boy 
going to a ball game ’ ( W. G. McAdoo, 
Crowded Years, 445). 

‘They used to tell me that Napoleon 
Bonyparte was a champeen chess 
player, but Hogan says he was on’y 
good because annybody that bate 
him might as well go down and be 
measured f’r his ball an’ chain’ (F. P. 
Dunne, Mr. Dooley’s Opinions, 80). 
This remark needs interpretation to 
those who do not know that the baU 
and chain is one of the penal devices 
of the U.S. It IS defined by the 
O.E.D. as ‘a heavy metal ball secured 
by a chain to the leg of a prisoner or 
convict, to prevent escape’. ‘Ham- 
monton has resolved to see what the 
ball and chain gang system will do in 
the way of driving off the tramps and 
vagrants. The town council has asked 
the county Board of Freeholders to 
provide the shackles, and all men 
caught wandermg around, begging 
and having no visible means of sup- 
port, will be chained and set to work 
digging gravel or mending the roads.’ 
‘Tammany was against his nomina- 
tion from the first, but was beaten to 
the ground, then whipped into line, 
and made work for hun under ball 
and chain, and in stripes, to the end.’ 
‘Prisoners at work on the streets . . . 
who have bad reputations or give 
trouble, those who are under large 
fines and do not belong to the com- 
munity, and those having other 
charges pending are forced to wear 
a 25 pound ball and chain attached 
to one ankle’ (F. W. Hoffer, D, M. 
Mann, and F. N, House, The Jails 
of Virginia, 49). See also chain. 

ballot. By a curious perversion of 
its proper and distinctive meaning, 
this word has come to be generally 
used in Am. to denote the open vot- 
ing at a national party convention 




when a candidate for the Presidency 
is being nominated. Thus, the his- 
tories and year-books, as well as the 
contemporary newspapers, tell us 
that in 1924 Coolidge was nominated 
by the Republicans on the first ballot 
and Davis by the Democrats on the 
lOSrd ballot. Actually, the spokes- 
man of each State delegation an- 
nounces its choice publicly— indeed, 
this choice is shouted m the ears of 
several thousand people — ^but the 
voting thus conducted without the 
least pretence of secrecy is neverthe- 
less called a ballot. ‘The disturbance 
which followed the La Follette 
speeches became so prolonged and 
annoying that Senator Lodge [the 
chairman of the convention] was 
compelled to order the roll call of 
States on the final ballot many 
minutes before anybody could be 
heard 20 feet away,’ 

‘Issues of paramount significance 
were lacking during his governorship, 
although it was then that Minnesota 
adopted the Australian ballot’ (Diet. 
Am. Biog. xii. 554). What peculiar 
method of votmg, one naturally asks, 
is this Amtralian ballots There is 
really nothing strange or mysteriously 
antipodean about it, for this is the 
name given in Am. to the method of 
voting which has been familiar in 
Eng, ever since the first adoption of 
the ballot in public elections; i.e. the 
names of all the candidates are 
printed on an official votmg-paper 
and the voter marks a cross against 
the names of the candidates of his 
choice. In Am., before the Australian 
ballot was introduced, no official 
voting-paper was provided, but each 
voter handed in a paper on which 
was printed or written his own 
selected list of names — ^usually sup- 
plied to him, of course, by the agents 
of his own party. This primitive 
system, which greatly discouraged 
independence on the part of the voter, 
was not ^neraUy superseded until 
the ’nineties. The Australian ballot 
derived its name from its country of 
origin, as it is said to have been 

devised by William Robinson Booth- 
by. Sheriff and Returning Officer for 
the Province of South Australia. 

In Am., when the election of a 
person to an office — other than public 
offices — ^is obviously a mere formality, 
or when it is desired to pay the com- 
pliment of unanimous election to a 
candidate who has just been chosen 
after a contest, the secretary of the 
electing body is sometimes instructed 
to cast a single ballot for him. ‘At last 
a lay deputy from Mississippi said: 
“We all second him”, which was 
quite evidently the case, so, to save 
time, the first assistant secretary cast 
a single ballot as the unanimous vote 
of all for Dr. McKim’ (N.Y. Church- 
man in a report of the triennial Pro- 
testant Episcopal Convention). 

band. Only an exceptional man can 
make himself heard above the noise 
of a band. Hence the Am. metaphor, 
to beat the band, which is not limited 
to competitions in sound. ‘I over- 
heard one man telling another that 
he had just given his mother-in-law 
“a dandy funeral” and that enough 
flowers had been sent “to beat the 
band”.’ ‘She is built on the sky- 
scraping plan of the new girl, with 
shoulders and a neck to beat the 
band’ (W. D. Howells, Letters 
Home, 53). 

An old-fashioned circus procession 
in Am. is headed by a band. Hence 
the political metaphor of the band 
wagon. ‘Democratic politicians like 
to be on the winning side, or “get 
into the band wagon”, to use a 
favorite metaphor of politics.’ ‘He is 
no leader of forlorn hopes. He wants 
the front seat in the band wagon.’ 
‘The crowd that rushed for the band 
wagon is quite as capable of being 
stampeded in the opposite direction 
when the musicians’ wind is ex- 
hausted.’ ‘The offer of the governor- 
ship was the same thing as a gracious 
assurance that he might Imve his 
place in the sun — or, in home-spun 
Am., the band wagon’ (Prof. N. W, 
Stephenson, Life of Nelson W. 




Aldrich, 4). ‘A victory in this early 
election would attract the so-called 
“band-wagon” voter, whose chief 
interest in an election is to align him- 
self with the wmning side’ (C. E. 
Robinson, Straw Votes, 27). 

fbank. The Am. metaphor hank 
on = count on, rely on is said to have 
nothing to do with high finance, but to 
be derived from the forming of a bank 
at a gaming table. ‘ A February without 
zero weather is miraculous. Let us not 
bank too confidently on such remote 
precedents as those of 1876-77 and 
1857-58.’ ‘Strings of titles appended 
to every instructor’s name on a col- 
lege programme do not establish 
ability to teach. Are the colleges 
banking on parents who do not know 

See also examiner. 

banner. In Am. an adj. as well as 
a noun, meaning principal, foremost, 
firsUrate; i.e. worthy to carry the 
banner. ‘New construction is a 
banner investment, better even than 
buying low-cost securities.’ ‘The 
earnings of all Vanderbilt lines had 
a banner month in August’ (i.e. a 
record month). ‘Everybody detests 
Mrs. Chittenden, but as the banner 
patient of the sanitarium she must 
be treated with respectful considera- 
tion.’ ‘As foreman of Lovell’s beef 
ranch I spent five banner years of 
my life’ (Andy Adams, The Outlet, 
871), ‘Massachusetts is still the 
banner state of the Union, when we 
take into account not only the num- 
ber of points covered, but the methods 
of carrying out the law’ (Prof. R. T. 
EiiY, Evolution of Industrial Society, 

banquet. Often used in Am. of 
much less sumptuous repasts than 
those to which it is restricted in Eng. 
In its account of the opening of a 
new Congregational Church in a small 
New Eng. town, a Boston paper re- 
ports that ‘there is a banquet room 
and a kitchen in the basement’. A 
N.y. paper, recording a visit paid 

by Sir H. M. Stanley to ‘the poor- 
house where his definitely ascertained 
history begins’ says that he ‘ban- 
quetted the children there’. Advts. 
of books and correspondence courses 
that profess to teach the art of public 
speaking call attention to the im- 
portance of bemg able to express one- 
self effectively at banquets, whereas 
a similar Eng. advt, would refer to 
public dinners. 

bar. The barman of an Eng. public- 
house is the bartender, barkeeper, or 
barkeep of an Am. saloon. ‘The 
fraudulent votes of liquor dealers, 
bartenders, and city job-holders il- 
legally registered in his ward’ (Dr. H. 
Zink, City Bosses in U.S. 83). ‘He 
was expected to lend the distinction 
of his presence to the barkeepers’ 
annual ball’ (W. A. White, Masks 
m a Pageant, 11). ‘Think of walking 
up to a bar, and then asking the 
barkeep for an ice-cream soda I’ 
(L. Steffens, Autobiog. 101). 
fbargain. The term bargain counter 
is of Am. origin, and denotes a counter 
or department of a store where 
articles are offered at esp. reduced 
prices. ‘Every book should have its 
chance to sell at a living price, before 
it is dumped on the bargain counter.’ 
The term is often used fig. ‘The fact 
that the investments of the East Side 
are in real estate explains why it did 
not rush to the Wall Street bargain 
coimter.’ ‘The $3,000,000 palace 
W. C. Whitney ransacked the world 
to adorn was on the bargain counter 
and sold to a rich new-comer at half 
price within five years after it was 
completed.’ ‘The group of men who 
have lost good jobs and are on the 
“bargain counter” of the employ- 
ment market’ (M. A. Elliott and 
F. E. Merrill, Social Disorganiza- 
tion, 318). 

barge may denote in Eng, the 
second boat of a man-of-war, a large 
ornamental oared vessel for state 
occasions, or the house-boat of an 
Oxford or Cambridge college boat- 
club, but the word is most frequently 




applied to a flat-bottomed vessel con- 
veying coal and other freight, mainly 
along the canals. In Am. vessels of 
a similar build and with the same 
name carry passengers on pleasure 
excursions. They are double-decked 
and are usually without sails or power, 
being towed by steamers or tugs. 
‘The steamer was coming down the 
North River, towing three barges 
crowded with excursiomsts,’ 

There is a startling suggestion of 
Noah’s Ark on Ararat in a report of 
visitors being ‘conveyed in barges to 
the crest of High Pole Hill’. In this in- 
stance the barge is actually a New 
Eng, vehicle, defined in the Century 
Diet, as ‘a large wagon, coach or 
omnibus for carrying picnic parties 
or conveymg passengers to and from 
hotels’. A Springfield (Mass.) paper 
describes a Sunday School outmg 
where the excursionists were accom- 
modated in ‘ten four-horse barges and 
four two-horse rigs’. 

bark. In Eng. a person of unpolished 
manners is sometimes called a rough 
diamond. In Am. a different meta- 
phor finds favour. He is described as 
a man mth the bark on, ‘Your 
Westerner with the bark on is fond 
of strong and picturesque figures of 

barker. The 0,E,D, gives a quota- 
tion from Hazlitt, dated 1822, illus- 
trating the use of this word to denote 
a tout for an auction-room or shop. 
It is now obs, in this sense in Eng., 
but still common in Am. ‘He was 
today sentenced in Pohee Court to 
serve 105 days in jail for attacking a 
“barker”, who accosted him in front 
of a second-hand store. He claimed 
tMt the “barker” grabbed hold of 
him, and tried to make him buy, and 
he resented the “quick-sale” tactics.’ 
‘Conditions were so dull that barkers 
had to be enlisted to call the public’s 
attention to the boats tied up along 
the water front.’ ‘The secretary was 
a man of pugilistic build, with the 
voice of a side-show barker’ (H. A. 
Feanck, Vagabond Journey, 276). 

‘Across the street a barker shouted 
the virtues o’f an old Charlie Chaplin 
film’ (L. Adamic, Laughing in the 
Jungle, 196). 

The French aboyeur seems to be 
used in a somewhat similar sense. 

barn. On Am. farms the covered 
bmldings in which gram and hay are 
stored are often used to house horses 
and cattle also. Barn thus becomes 
equivalent to stable or cowshed^ and 
a familiar proverb accordingly takes 
a new form, as when Dr, J. M, Beck 
(Our Wonderland of Bureaucracy, 
207) speaks of the necessity of locking 
the barn door before the horse is 
stolen. In his learned treatise on 
‘The Proverb’ Prof, Archer Taylor 
also gives it m tliis form. During a 
severe winter one may read of cattle 
being ‘found frozen stiff in the barns’. 
The contents of an old barn that takes 
fire include ‘four horses, two pigs, a 
new hack and livery stock in general*. 
Hence the terms cow-bam and horse^ 
bam, William Dean Howells, writing 
in Harpefs Monthly of July 1906, 
describes a vast, stately structure 
which ‘is now used for the cow-bam 
of a dairy farmer’. A less usual com- 
pound is animal barn^ which seems, 
as in the following extract from a 
New Eng. paper, to mean a small 
menagerie; ‘The main animal barn 
at Forest Park was partly destroyed 
by fire. Quick work on the part of 
the park employees and the firemen 
saved the collection of more than 100 
birds, a dozen monkeys, two leopard 
cats . . . from complete destruction.’ 
The great Chicago fire of 1871 is 
commonly attributed to the kicking 
over of a lighted oil lantern by a cow 
‘in a barn’. 

The tramway depot, in which cars 
are housed when not running, be- 
comes in Am. a bam or car bam, 
‘The signal to go ahead was given, 
and the car shot into the barn.’ A 
technical treatise describes a certain 
type of apparatus as being employed 
‘when the car-barn is provided with 
pits below the tracks’. 




baron, t^hough there is no peerage 
in Am., the word baron is in frequent 
use, in very much the same sense as 
the Eng. magnate, ‘Between the 
cattle barons and the beef trust the 
long-suffering public is not likely to 
get much but bone.’ ‘The ice 
“barons” of this city have again 
raised the price of ice to the dealers.’ 
‘Safe within my social uniform I 
mixed undistinguishedly with the 
coal barons and college presidents of 
my native land’ (Hamlin Garland, 
Roadside Meetings, 473). ‘ The daugh- 
ters of rich beef and soap and sausage 
barons began giving their hands to 
titled European vagabonds’ (J. T. 
Flynn, God’s Gold, 280). 

Hence barony m a corresponding 
sense. ‘He was to see John D. Rocke- 
feller collect into a mighty barony the 
wide-spread and disunited oil com- 
panies’ (Prof. T. J. Grayson, Leaders 
and Periods of Am. Finance, 477). 

barrel. In Am. politics the money 
with which a campaign is financed 
is often called a barrel (i,e. of dollars). 
‘Others informed the Rep, repre- 
sentatives that the situation was 
nothing like what it was at the last 
election, and that there was now no 
call for a big barrel.’ See also pork. 

A low-class drinking-place is some- 
times called a barrel home or barrel 
shop, ‘The tramp could go his way 
in the morning to the barrel house or 
the beer saloon.’ ‘The deaths were 
caused by drinking a poisonous sub- 
stitute for whiskey sold in the low 
“barrel shops” along Tenth-avenue.’ 

For garbage barrel, see garbage. 

basket* The Am. basket dinner or 
basket lunch — the Eng. picnic, esp. 
when organized by a church or 
society. ‘Capt. Glenn is to deliver an 
address to the excursionists, and after 
the speech a basket dinner will be 
enjoyed by the picknickers.’ ‘At 
noon a bountiful basket lunch was 
served under the trees.’ The term 
basket picnic is also used, ‘A monster 
basket picnic and reception has been 
arranged by the local Presbyterians.’ 

battery. A specific Am. use of this 
word is to denote the pitcher and 
catcher together in a baseball team. 
‘A former member of Yale battery.’ 

battle. In Am. battle is a trans. as 
well as an intrans. verb. ‘The signi- 
ficance and value of Dr. Bushnell for 
the Christian Church is in his battling 
a theology that had a false philoso- 
phical basis’ (Prof. L. O. Brastow, 
Representative Modern Preachers, 
148). ‘He went forth to battle 
Gouldism and all that Gouldism re- 
presented’ (J. K. Winkler, Life of 
J. Pie^ont Morgan, 102). ‘Battling 
the Crime Wave’ is the title of a book 
by Prof. H. Elmer Barnes. 

Am. sham battle = Eng. sham fight, 
‘The sham battle will take place to- 
morrow afternoon; the exact time or 
the location is known to the officers 

bawl. The Am, bawl out means 
much more than bawl at. It implies 
not merely a loud tone of voice but 
a reprimand, delivered in a bullying 
fashion. One may cf. the Eng. ex- 
pression tell off, ‘The common scold- 
mg or “bawlmg out” of traffic offen- 
ders instead of polite wammg or firm 
arrest and punishment is a typical case 
of vicious police administration ’ (Prof. 
C. E. Merriam, Chicago, 40). ‘He 
used to bawl Otto out in front of the 
people he was waitmg on’ (E. 
Wilson, The Am. Jitters, 123). 

bay. In Eng. this name is given to 
a variety of laurel, the Laurus 
nobilis, but in Am. to the Magnolia 
glauca. In Am. bayberry not only 
denotes the fruit of the bay, but is 
the name given to a quite different 
tree, the wax myrtle, or Myrica 
cenfera, and to its fruit. ‘The bay- 
berry dips are made by boiling bay- 
berries down to a thick wax and 
dipping cords into the mixture.’ 

beat. The verb beat, used in Eng. 
as a synonym for overcome, surpass, 
has acquired a bad sense in Am. where 
it often means get the better of by 
illegitimate means, cozen, cheat, ‘The 




lawyer who considers it inconsistent 
with his professional integrity to help 
a fellow-creature beat a statute is a 
rare person.’ ‘The people who try to 
beat the street car conductors out of 
their fare.’ ‘Respectable citizens who 
would not dream of beating a grocer’s 
bill will try to cheat their way on to 
Uncle Sam’s pay roll’ (F. J. Haskin, 
The Am. Government, 380). A heat 
is a man who is given to such prac- 
tices. ‘He knows more about the 
ways and schemes of the hotel “ beats * ’ 
than any other man in the country.’ 

In Am. journalism beat is used, as an 
alternative to scoops to denote a piece 
of news which a reporter has gained 
in advance of his rivals and which is 
accordingly published in his own 
paper exclusively. ‘In the earlier 
parts [of Stanley’s book on his dis- 
covery of Livingstone] one gets 
chiefly the alert and jaunty news- 
paperman, intent on his beat.’ ‘I 
made a bargain with the authorities 
by which I left them to obtain the 
confession anew for themselves, while 
I secured what is called a “beat” for 
my paper — a “beat” being an ex- 
clusive piece of news, and the getting 
thereof being the highest aim and the 
proudest achievement of a corre- 
spondent’ (J. Ralph, The Making of 
a Journalist, 56). 

fTo beat up does not seem to differ 
from to beat, in the ordinary sense, 
except in suggesting that the drubbing 
described is more severe. ‘He be- 
came a marked man and eventually 
was beaten up or assassinated’ (L. 
Adamic, Dynamite, 15). ‘If a white 
man stood up for a Negro in a race 
quarrel, he might be kidnapped and 
beaten up’ (F. L. Allen, Only Yes- 
terday, 68). 

The Am. expression beat one^s way 
carries with it an implication that is 
lacking in make one*$ way. It suggests 
that the journey is accomplished by 
tramping the roads or by stowing 
away on freight trains, * While posing 
as a tramp he told many conflictmg 
stories, but stuck to one finally— that 
he had come from the West, and had 

beaten his way by trains and turn- 
pike.’ ‘He walked to N.Y., drifted 
to Buffalo, and beat his way to 
Chicago on a lake vessel’ (Prof. T. J. 
Grayson, Leaders and Periods of 
Am. Finance, 401). 

t Am. beat it = Eng. make off, ‘ It never 
failed to work up a cracking shower 
in the late afternoon. Most of the 
crowd would beat it up to the hall for 
cover’ (G. Reynard, in Life in the 
U.S. 316). ‘The murderer beat it, 
leaving him for dead ’ (Ellery Queen, 
The Siamese Twin Mystery, 96). 

bed. The compound bedfast is not 
unknown in Eng., but it is nowadays 
only dial., and much less common 
than bedridden. In Am. bedfast is in 
current use, chiefly among doctors 
and nurses. ‘He had been failing in 
health for the past two years and for 
the past week has been bedfast.’ ‘On 
his annual visitation to the State 
Tuberculosis Sanatorium the Bishop 
of Harrisburg administered confirma- 
tion to two bedfast patients.’ 

tf In Am. the compound bed-rock is 
often used fig. ‘The pnce of shingles 
in the central west has been driven 
to a bed-rock basis by shipping into 
the territory great quantities of 
shingles from the Pacific Coast.’ 
‘Study and reflection culminated in 
that year. Both sides got down to 
bed-rock, and in this period we find 
the best and strongest pamphlets’ 
(S. G. Fisher, True Hist, of the Am. 
Revolution, 126). 

See also bug. 

bee. A special Am. use is defined by 
the Century Diet, as ‘an assemblage 
of persons who meet to engage in 
umted labor for the benefit of an 
individual or a family, or in some 
joint amusement; so called from the 
combined labor of the bees of a hive’. 
The 0,E,D, also says that the word 
is so used ‘in allusion to the social 
character of the insect’. If this be 
the explanation, it seems strange that 
the word bee should not be applied to 
an individual member of the gathering 
but to the gathering as a whole, for 




which hive would surely be a more 
appropriate metaphor. ‘The Martha 
Washington Benevolent Society met 
the other day for its annual spinning 
bee. Old-fashioned spinning wheels 
were in actual use.’ ‘A bride who is 
to be married this month has just 
given a ribbon bee to her bridesmaids. 
The girls passed their time m thread- 
ing ribbons through the bride-elect’s 
lingerie. After the trousseau was 
gayly dressed, refreshments were 
served.’ ‘The Cleveland Plain Dealer 
notes the change that has come upon 
the husking bee within a decade or 
so. It used to take place in a dimly- 
lighted barn, and the discovery of a 
red ear conferred a traditional privi- 
lege of kissing the girl at one’s side. 
Corn was really husked in large 
quantities, and the dance and cider 
and doughnuts were pastime and 
refreshment earned by toil. Now the 
farmyard is decorated with Japanese 
lanterns and people arrive in motor 
cars and stand about a pile of corn 
shucks which the farm hands have 
arranged to give “color” to the en- 
tertainment.’ ‘A stalwart young farm 
hand striding down the road, pitch- 
fork on his shoulder, making his way 
to a threshing bee’ (Hamlin Gab- 
land, Roadside Meetings, 177). In 
volumes of recollections of Am. rural 
life in the last century, one may find 
mention also of log-roUing bees, apple- 
paring bees, and quilting bees. 

In the following quotations the use 
of the word is considerably extended. 
‘If we don’t stop the Banking De- 
partment investigation, we can never 
head off the probing of the Railroad 
Commission or any other State de- 
partment, and such an investigation 
bee spells rum.’ ‘ After having cheated 
a possible lynching bee out of its 
victim yesterday, Sheriff Christopher 
decided to refuse all visitors admit- 
tance to the jail.’ ‘Big Hanging Bee 
is now on in Chicago’ (Newspaper 
headline above a report of the hang- 
ing of eight murderers within a few 

The only Eng. use of hee in the Am. 

sense is in the compound spelling-bee, 
denoting a competition in spelling. 
Both the thing and the word were 
introduced from Am. in the 1870’s, 
and had a considerable vogue for a 
few years. 

beech* The Eng. beech is Fagm 
sylvaiica. The Am. is Fagm ferru- 
ginea. The bark of the Eng. tree is a 
dark slaty grey, while that of the 
Am. is a very light grey. The margin 
of the Eng. leaf is so obscurely toothed 
that the leaf is practically entire, 
while that of the Am. is very strongly 

beet. In Eng. the plur. beets was 
once in common use, like beans, 
greens, &c., but nowadays it has been 
entirely superseded by beetroot. In 
Am. the older usage is retained. 

‘ Cold chopped beets with lettuce 
make a good supper salad.’ ‘When 
young and tender, red beets are easily 
cooked, palatable and fairly diges- 
tible’ (Mrs. Rokek’s New Cook Book, 

fbegin. An idiomatic Am. use of 
begin to, with a negative, is illustrated 
in the following quotations. ‘No 
criminal trial of recent years has be- 
gun to arouse so wide a public interest 
as this one;’ i.e. has aroused anything 
like so widespread, &c., has aroused 
an interest at all approaching, &c. 
‘The criticism does not begin to be 
as subtle as that of Mr. Raleigh’s 
study;’ i.e. is nothing like so subtle. 
‘The statement doesn’t begin to be 
comprehensive enough;’ i.e. is far 
from being. ‘The social scientist 
cannot begin to offer the assurance 
of a laboratory test’ (W. Lippmann, 
Public Opmion, 372). ‘Even New 
Orleans does not begin to compare in 
size with a dozen cities scattered over 
other sections of the U.S.’ (Prof- 
B. W. Pabks, in Culture in the South, 

beho(o)ve. While the form behove 
is in common use in Eng., behoove is 
preferred in Am. Webster gives be- 
fmve a secondary place, and the 




Century Diet, mentions it as the less 
correct spelhng. ‘ It behooves the 
northenders to appoint a health 
officer.’ ‘A sort of Providence had 
entered into their life, which it be- 
hooved them to accept without 
further concern.’ ‘The lesson is that 
it behooves us to look less at the 
politician and more closely at our- 
selves’ (Dr. N. M. Bxjtler, Between 
Two Worlds, 124). 

belie is no longer used in Eng. in 
the sense of give the lie to. The last 
example given by the 0,E,D. is 
dated 1649. That this use is still 
retained in Am. is shown by the 
following extract from a book pub- 
lished in 1931. ‘He was deficient in 
judgment about other men and was 
inclined to abuse and belie those who 
disagreed with him’ (Prof. A. E. 
Martin, Hist, of XJ.S. ii. 103). 

tbell. In Am. there are two com- 
pounds, bellboy and bellhop^ each of 
which denotes an employee who at- 
tends to the needs of guests in a hotel 
when summoned by a bell. ‘ The clerk 
sent a bellboy to the room at the time 
stated, but repeated knocks on the 
door brought forth no answer.’ ‘In 
Pittsburgh the leading hotels lost their 
entire force of waiters and bellboys 
within a few days ’ (Prof. A. E. Martin, 
Hist.ofU.S.i.576). ‘The hotel bellhop 
running to Room 417 with another 
order of ginger ale and cracked ice’ 
(F. L. Allen, Only Yesterday, 253). 
‘A senator is expected to do simul- 
taneously the work of a college pro- 
fessor and of a bellhop’ (G. W. 
Pepper, In the Senate, 25). 

The Am. bellboy may be of either 
sex. ‘ A girl may not become a bellboy 
in Ohio or Washington’ (M. A. 
Elliott and F. E. Merrill, Social 
Disorganization, 290). 

belong. In Eng,, when belong is 
followed by a preposition, that pre- 
position is invariably to. In Am. it 
may be (1) in, (2) wnfh, or (3) among, 
(1) ‘Both books, by virtue of their 
litei^ry quality, belong in the notable 

group of Eng. impressions which 
includes etc.’ ‘The elaborate treatises 
on rhythm are analytic, not synthetic, 
and belong in the study, not the 
writing, of poetry’ (H. S. Canby, 
Better Wnting, 133), ‘ I freely admit 
that this letter belongs in the archives 
of New Eng,’ (Dr. A. S, W, Rosen- 
BACH, Books and Bidders, 287). (2) 
‘Cheese belongs with salad quite as 
much as it does with coffee.’ ‘The 
name of Robert Koch belongs with 
that of Pasteur in the history of 
medical science.’ ‘In general he be- 
longs for me with George Eliot, 
Dickens, and Thackeray as an author 
to whose personality I cannot attach 
myself’ (Letters of W. P. Garrison, 
84). (3) ‘The friend naturally belongs 
among those who habitually read 
book advertisements.’ ‘It belongs 
among the small number of Am. 
medical schools to which great praise 
is due’ (Dr. A. Flexner, Univer- 
sities, 112). 

Evidently the explanation of this 
difference in idiom is that belong may 
be used in Am. in a sense unknown m 
Eng, It would not have been used 
by an Eng. writer m any of the above 
extracts. He would have substituted 
some such expression as find their 
place or should properly be included^ 
in which case in or with^ not to, would 
naturally have followed. The differ- 
ence in meaning between belong to and 
belong in is especially noticeable m 
the quotation from Dr, Rosenbach. 
His suggestion is that the archives of 
New Eng. would be an appropriate 
home for the letter in question. 
Belongs to would have meant that the 
letter was already deposited there. 

belt is commonly used in Am., 
where zone would be used in Eng., to 
denote a district or region, generally 
with some distinctive prefix. ‘A wet 
heavy snow swept over the N. Central 
States to-day . . . Milwaukee and 
Lansing were at the north end of the 
storm belt.’ ‘This is the time of year 
when the far-famed Michigan fruit 
belt has to let itself out several holes 




in order to make room for its crop.’ 
‘There is a man in New Jersey who 
has not slept in 20 years. He might 
try crossing the Delaware and getting 
out of the mosquito belt.’ ‘Illinois 
is divided into a wheat belt, a com 
belt, and the city of Chicago’ (Prof. 
A. B. Hart, Actual Government, 
116). ‘Victorian ways have survived 
beyond their appointed time in the 
Bible belt’ (JosEFHiira: Pinckney, in 
Culture in the South, 40). 

The term Black Belt is frequently 
used in discussions of the Negro 
problem. ‘I have often been asked 
to define the term “Black Belt”. So 
far as I can learn, the term was first 
used to designate a part of the country 
which was distinguished by the colour 
of the soil. The part of the country 
possessing this thick, dark, and natur- 
ally rich soil was, of course, the part 
of the South where the slaves were 
most profitable and consequently 
they were taken there in the largest 
numbers. Later, and especially since 
the [civil] war, the term seems to be 
used wholly in a political sense — ^that 
is, to designate the counties where the 
black people outnumber the white’ 
(Booker T. Washington, Up from 
Slavery, 108). 

The term belt line is applied in Am. 
to a tram-lme which takes a circular 
route. It is also used fig. * George B. 
McClellan and Edward M. Grout were 
scheduled for a belt line tour of speech- 
making last night.’ 

bench. In Am. a geological term in 
popular use, defined by the 0,E,D, 
as ‘a level tract between a river and 
neighbouring hills’. ‘We live in a 
depression, or small valley, on this 
shdf or bench.’ Hence, benchlands, 
‘He turned his herd loose among the 
bottoms and foothills and bench- 

In Am. papers one may sometimes 
read reports of a bench show. The 
context will make it clear that this 
does not mean an exhibition of 
benches, but what in Eng. is called 
a dog show. Thus: ‘The opening of 

the annual bench show of the West- 
minster Kennel Club.’ The term 
originates in the practice on such 
occasions of arranging the dogs on 
benches or platforms so that their 
physical points may be compared. 
It marks the distinction between such 
a competition and a field show or 
field trial where awards are made for 

bends. The noun bend is used in 
Am. in the plur. to denote an in- 
dustrial disease to which workers in 
caissons are liable. ‘A laborer in 
Long Island City tunnel died to-day 
just as he had finished work. He was 
about to ascend the shaft, when he 
was seized with the “bends”. Com- 
rades hurried him to the mouth of the 
shaft, but he was dead when a doctor 
arrived. The “bends” is the popular 
name for the collapse of the spinal 
cord caused by the heavy artificial 
air pressure in these tubes far under 
water.’ Acc. to a correspondent of 
the N.Y, Nation (Feb. 13, 1908) this 
disease was first closely observed 
when the piers of the St. Louis bridge 
were sunk in 1869-72. When the men 
came up, they would hold their hands 
against their stomachs, bend over, 
and in a curved attitude walk slowly 
and painfully to shore. At this time 
there was among women a fashion of 
walking called the Grecian bend. One 
workman would say of another, when 
he showed symptoms of caisson 
disease, ‘He has got the Grecian 
bend’. When the St. Louis workmen 
migrated to other bridges, tunnels, 
&c., they carried the name with them, 
but in course of time dropped Grecian. 

A writer in the Atlantic Monthly of 
Apnl 1932 uses the same term to 
denote a similar trouble afflicting the 
divers in Florida sponge fisheries; 
‘The boats frequently bring men up 
foom 20 fathoms very sick with the 

best Am. gel the best of = Eng. get 
the better of. ‘The True Story of 
a Man Who Got the Best of the 
Standard Oil Company’ (Newspaper 




headline). *I was at war with the 
Bntish Government, and it had got 
the best of me’ (Frank Roney, 
Autobiog. 139). 

bid is used in Am. both in the sense 
of the Eng. bid, an offer of a price 
by a prospective purchaser, especially 
at an auction, and of the Eng. tender, 
a statement of the price at which one 
is prepared to undertake a certain 
piece of work or to supply certain 
goods. ‘Sealed bids for the construc- 
tion of the federal building vnll be 
opened on Jan. 23 at the architect’s 
office.’ ‘Under the contract system 
the plans and specifications are pre- 
pared by city authorities; then bids 
are asked from private contractors. 
The contractor whose bid is accepted 
furnishes the materials and manages 
the labor forces’ (Dr. C. C. Maxey, 
Outline of Municipal Government, 
205). ‘The Serbian Government 
cabled me to make a contract for 
5,000 tons of lard. I called up repre- 
sentatives of Swift and of Armour, 
requesting them to file their bids in 
48 hours’ (Prof. M. Pupin, From 
Immigrant to Inventor, 344). See 


bill. In Eng. to be presented with 
a bill ordinarily means to receive a 
statement of what one owes for goods 
purchased or services rendered. In Am. 
it may represent an addition to the 
credit mstead of the debit side of one’s 
accounts. For the Am. bill corre- 
sponds to the Eng. note in the sense 
of paper money. ‘The bills were of 
the $2 denomination.’ ‘A dime 
makes as much noise on a collection 
plate as a quarter, and both make 
more noise than a bill. If you don’t 
want your left hand to know what 
your right hand doeth, put in a bill.* 
Aceordmgly, bank-bill = Eng. bank- 
note. ‘Ripping up old pocket-books 
in the firm belief that bank-bills to 
an immense amount were hidden in 
them’ (O. W. Holmes, Autocrat of 
the Breakfast Table, 186), A pocket- 
book in which such bills are kept is 
sometimes called a billhook. ‘In a 

billbook in an inside pocket were 
many checks for various sums on 
Plainfield banks.’ 

ffThe Am. metaphor fill the Mil = 
meet all requirements, do all that is 
needed, ‘There are fewer and fewer 
places in the church where a mediocre 
man can fill the bill,’ ‘The gasoline 
vehicle has been so much improved 
in all its details that it would seem 
to fill the bill for all classes of work,’ 
fin the sense of placard, this word 
has given rise in Am, to the verb 
MXl — announce, promise, ‘Its big 
annual dinner is billed for Oct. 19.’ 
‘If he IS all that he is cracked up to 
be, Missouri is certainly billed for 
some good government.’ ‘He re- 
marked: “I ain’t ever billed this 
promenade as a Coney Island picnic” ’ 
(Frank Norris, A Deal in Wheat, 

In Eng. a billboard is a board on 
which a newsagent displays the con- 
tents bill of a newspaper. In Am. 
the newspapers issue no contents bills, 
and billboard = Eng. hoarding. ‘An 
ordinance demands that no billboard 
be erected on a residence street with- 
out the consent of three fourths of 
the frontage in the block concerned.’ 
‘For a long time the residence sec- 
tions of the city have been disfigured 
by hideous billboards’ (Am. Year 
Book for 1919, 255). ‘The modern 
newspaper tends towards the bill- 
board and pictorial effect’ (Prof. 
C. E. Merriam, Chicago, 168). 

In Eng. a bill of lading is a receipt 
given for goods shipped on board a 
vessel. In Am. the name is also used 
in the case of goods delivered to a 
carrier for transport by land. On 
Am. railroads, accordingly, MU of 
lading denotes what on Eng. railways 
is called a consignmmt note. ‘In 
theory each state enjoys full power 
to regulate the business of railroads 
within Its boundaries. In practice 
this power is limited by the mere fact 
of national regulation of interstate 
business. For example, the national 
commission prescribes a system of 
accounting or a uniform bill of lading 




for interstate business’ (Prof. H. L. 
McBain, The Living Constitution, 
46). See freight, ship. 

A reference in an Am. publication 
to the Bill of Rights rarely has any- 
thing to do with the famous Eng, 
statute of 1689. This name is com- 
monly given to the first nine (or ten) 
Amendments to the U.S. Constitu- 
tion, which were added in 1791 to the 
jEimdamental law of 1787 in order 
expressly to prevent the Federal 
Government from encroaching upon 
the liberties of the people. It may 
also denote a similar section of a 
State Constitution. ‘I commend to 
my distinguished colleague a re- 
reading of the Bill of Rights, as set 
forth in the first nine amendments 
to the Constitution’ (Dr. J. M, Beck, 
May it Please the Court, 211). ‘The 
World War and its anti-red after- 
math resulted in laws and decisions 
which mean that in an emergency 
the Bill of Rights which we had sup- 
posed was written by amendment 
into our Constitution is scarcely more 
than a scrap of paper’ (Norman 
Thomas, America’s Way Out, 18). 
‘The Bill of Rights — our forefathers’ 
listing of unalienable liberties and 
personal securities — ^was written a 
century and a half ago’ (Herbert 
Hoover, The Challenge to Liberty, 

For bill of equity, see equity. 

billion, in Eng. = a million millions, 
but in Am. = a thousand millions, 
i.e. the Eng. milliard. This is the only 
example, some one has said, of a thing 
that is bigger m Eng. than in Am. 
‘Too many of those who comment 
with gratitude and pride on the an- 
nouncement that the trust funds in 
the Am. Treasury have now reached 
the unexampled sum of over a billion 
dollars overlook the fact that nearly 
480 millions of this, almost one-half, 
are standard silver dollars.’ *A 
generation ago, comment was made 
because we had in the U.S. what was 
called a “billion-dollar Congress” — 
that is, a Congress which in its two 

years of power voted a billion dollars 
for the maintenance of the national 
government. That meant 500 million 
dollars each year’ (Dr. N. M. Butler, 
Looking Forward, 170) See also 


According to the O.E.D., the word 
was coined m the 16th century to 
denote the 2nd power of a million, 
trillion and quadrillion being similarly 
formed to denote its 3rd and 4th 
powers. The application of the word 
was changed later by French arith- 
meticians, figures being divided in 
numeration into groups of threes 
instead of sixes. Hence in France, 
followed by Am., billion now denotes 
not the 2nd power of a million but 
1,000 millions. Eng. retains the 
original and etymological use. 

billy. ‘A highwayman’s club’ is 
one of the definitions of this word 
given in the 0,E,D. In Am. it may 
also mean a club, but a policeman’s, 
called in Eng. a truncheon, ‘ Eight men 
set upon a policeman this morning, 
and, after taking his revolver and billy 
away from him, kicked and beat him.’ 

biscuit. The Eng. biscuit has be- 
come a cracker in Am. though, oddly 
enough, an Am. firm which manu- 
factures It on a large scale calls itself 
the National Biscuit Co., not the 
National Cracker Co. The Am, biscuit 
is quite different. It is soft, not hard, 
and is something in the nature of 
an English scone, but much lighter, 
never sweet, and always served piping 
hot with plenty of butter. It is made 
of dough, raised with yeast or soda, 
and sometimes shortened with lard. 
‘Did he never spread cream ham 
gravy on his hot biscuits, when taste 
and delicious odor united to delight 
his palate?’ ‘His mother stood by 
the breakfast-table. The coffee-pot 
was at her hand, a plate of hot bis- 
cuits near it’ (Marie van Vorst, 
Amanda of the Mill, 56). The plur. is 
biscuit, as well as biscuits. See raise. 

bit. It is only in such compounds 
as threepenny bit and sixpenny bit that 




Ut survives in Eng. as a synonym for j 
a small coin. In Am. — ^principally in 
the West and South — it denotes either 
(1) a silver coin, now obs., worth 12} 
cents, or (2) the sum of 12} cents. 

* The individual who could shovel two 
dollars’ worth of sand a day coidd not 
pick two bits’ worth of hops in the 
same time.’ ‘Jim was smoking two- 
bit cigars’ (G. H. Lorimer, Old 
Gorgon Graham, 287). 

A sh(yrt hit is a ten-cent piece. ‘ The 
dime, or “short bit”, became the 
minimum coin of general circulation 
in the nineties.’ 

black. ‘ If we can thus start a strong 
sound upward spiral of business 
activity our industries will have little 
doubt of black-ink operations in the 
last quarter of this year’ (Pres. 
Franklin D. Roosevelt, On Our 
Way, 110). For the explanation of 
this spec. Am. use of black ink, see red. 
The Eng. blacJcbird is a species of 
thrush, Turdus mmila* In Am. the 
name is given to other birds, e.g. 
Gracula qmscala and Onolus phoem- 
ceusy which are more nearly related 
to the Eng. starling. 

The Am. compound blackjack de- 
notes a weapon, used as a bludgeon, 
such as is described in the first quota- 
tion. ‘The blackjack recovered by 
the police consists of a piece of lead, 
egg-shaped, weighing a pound and a 
half, set snugly in a network of 
narrow strips of leather.’ ‘This posi- 
tion, the coroner said, was not such 
as the body would have taken had 
Newman been struck with a black- 
jack or other weapon.’ ‘Knives, 
blackjacks and fists drove reputable 
cithsens from the ballot-boxes’ (S. B. 
WHmPLE, Noble Experiment, 99). 

See also belt, 

blank. The 0,E,D, marks as obs. 
the use of blank for ‘a document, 
“paper”, or “form”, with spaces left 
bkink to be filled up at the pleasure 
of the person to whom it is given.’ 
The illustrative quotations range 
from 1586 to 1780, and include one 

from Shakespeare. In Am. blank is 
still ordinarily employed in this 
sense, where it is the equivalent of 
the Eng, form. Tenders for the supply 
of goods to Government offices have 
to be made out on prescribed blanks; 
telegrams are wntten on telegraph 
blanks; and, when a donation is made 
to a charity, the amount of the gift 
is stated on a subscription blank. 
‘The muddle in the count of the vote 
on Tuesday, resulting from the 
erroneous form of the return blanks 
sent out to the election officers.’ ‘By 
means of question blanks sent to the 
parents, much information concern- 
mg each child is secured by the 
teachers’ (Prof. Paul H, Hanus, A 
Modern School, 128). ‘Stacks of 
fresh clean telegraph blanks’ (Chris- 
topher Morley, John Mistletoe, 

The verb blank, now obs. in Eng., is 
still current in Am. in the sense of 
beat hollow, smash utterly. Thus ‘Yale 
Blanks Princeton in Football Battle’ 
is the headline of a newspaper report 
of a match in which Yale defeated 
Princeton by 12 to 0. 

blanket is often used attrib. in Am. 
in a fig. sense. The metaphor is not 
connected with the idea of extin- 
guishing, but suggests the function of 
covering. Thus, a blanket clause is 
defined by the Century Diet, as ‘a 
general or indefinite clause formed so 
as to provide for a number of con- 
tingencies’. ‘The Bureau of Con- 
struction has received a “blanket” 
order to do everything which is 
absolutely necessary to place the 
flagship in the best of trim.’ ‘Roose- 
velt had been approached by Taft 
supporters to give a blanket endorse- 
ment of the new Administration’ 
(L. Einstein, Roosevelt, 192). ‘Sec- 
tion 251, Revised Statutes, gives 
almost blanket authority to the 
Secretary of the Treasury to issue 
regulations for collecting taxes’ (Dr. 
J. M. Beck, Our Wonderland of 
Bureaucracy, 166), In the early days 
j of President Franklin Roosevelt’s 




administration, one heard a great deal 
of his blanket code; i.e. a code by 
which all Am. industry was to be 
regulated, pending the adoption of 
specific codes for individual industries. 

A blanket tribe is a tribe of Indians 
still adhering to tribal customs, as 
illustrated by their continuing to 
wear blankets. ‘On our left was the 
reservation of three blanket tribes of 
Indians’ (Andy Adams, The Outlet, 

For blankeUshaxjol see the following 
quotation. ‘ When I fling a Bay-State 
shawl over my shoulders, I am only 
taking a lesson from the climate that 
the Indian had learned before me. A 
blanket-shawl we call it, and not a 
plaid ; and we wear it like the 
aborigines, and not like the High- 
landers’ (O. W. Holmes, Autocrat of 
the Breakfast Table, 18). 

The verb blanket is a yachtsman’s 
term in use both in Eng. and in Am. 
in the sense of take the wind out of the 
sails of. Its fig. use seems to be 
peculiar to Am. ‘Some men who had 
been contributors to the Rep. cause 
said they had first been approached 
by representatives of the Citizens’ 
Union, who, presenting the theory 
that the cause was a common one, 
bagged the contributions. In this 
way the Rep. campaign was blan- 
keted.’ ‘But it so happened that 
Mr. Taft was completely blanketed 
by the San Francisco earthquake. 
That catastrophe occurred the very 
day he began his testimony and so 
occupied public attention that the 
mere fact of his having appeared be- 
fore the Senate committee was either 
completely overlooked or speedily 

bleacher* In Eng. a person who 
bleaches or a vessel used in bleaching. 
In Am., spec, applied, usually in the 
plur., to roofless benches for specta- 
tors at outdoor games; presumably 
because they are exposed without 
shelter to the rays of the sun. ‘The 
bleachers of the club grounds have 
been so enlarged this season as to 

accommodate about 12,000 persons, 
but over not one of these seats is the 
slightest protection from the sun’s 
rays.’ ‘The many who sit on the 
bleachers smoking, or lying idling 
round’ (Prof. H. H. Hokne, Philo- 
sophy of Education, 85), ‘The spec- 
tator at the play or before the screen 
or upon the bleachers’ (G. W. Pepper, 
In the Senate, 20). 

blind. In Eng. an alley closed at 
one end is called a blind alley. 
Similarly a railroad car having no 
door in the end nearest the engine 
is called in Am. a blind car, and 
the baggage carried therein is called 
blind baggage. ‘Turning hobo, he 
traveled through every State in the 
Union. He knew the secrets of the 
“blind baggage” and the ways of 
railroad “bulls'” (H. A. France, 
Vagabond Journey, 361). 

A blind pig or blind tiger is an illicit 
drinkshop. * Six non-commissioned 
officers have been reduced to the 
ranks for running what is technically 
known as a “blind pig”, or unlawful 
canteen.’ ‘Some effort was made to 
suppress blmd tigers, which were then 
chiefly supplied by moonshine stills’ 
(D. L. Colvin, Prohibition in U.S., 
297). 1100.00 blind pigger, ‘The blind 

K in wet territory can procure 
^uor shipments without exciting 
suspicion’ (D. Pickett, Cyclop, of 
Temperance, 1917, ed., 55). 

The history of this curious term is 
thus related. ‘It originated from the 
idea of a shrewd Yankee who thought 
to evade the law by givmg away his 
liquor, smce there was then no 
statute expressly forbidding such 
gifts. This original, therefore, bought 
a blind pig, established it in a com- 
fortable box within a tented enclosure, 
and advertised to the world that it 
might “Look at the Blind Pig — ^Ten 
Cents a Look”. With every “look”, 
he gave away a drink of rye or bour- 
bon, dependent upon the pig- 
fancier’s personal taste’ (S. B. 
Whipple, Noble E^eriment, 19). 

In Am. the derivative bUnder is 




commonly prefeired to blinker, ‘It 
they’d put blinders on th’ mules, they 
wudden’t be scared’ (F. P. Dunne, 
Mr. Dooley in Peace and War, 16). 
♦ I plead with the young writer to pull 
off the blinders which ruiing-class 
propaganda seeks to fasten over his 
eyes’ (Upton Sinclaie, Money 
Writes, 212). The term is found in 
some Eng. dial. 

block. In Eng, a block is a tall and 
massive building, usually consisting 
of several self-contained sections 
occupied by various tenants; e.g. a 
block of flats, a block of offices. A 
building or continuous series of build- 
ings of lower elevation is called a 
rm; e.g. a row of artisans’ dwellings, 
a row of shops. An Am, block is not 
a building at all, but a unit of space 
measurement. It may be either (1) a 
rectangular area bounded by four 
streets, or (2) such portion of a street 
as lies between one intersecting street 
and the next. (1) ‘Pies are cut into 
slices, cities into blocks.’ ‘The 
Treasury Department occupies a 
four-story building a block square.’ 
‘An entire block along the Hudson 
River front, between 54th and 55th 
Streets, from 11th to 12th Avenue, 
has been purchased by the N.Y. 
Hospital.’ (2) ‘It is convenient to 
leading hotels — block south of the 
Sherman, a block north of the Mom- 
son, and a block east of the La Salle’ 
(Advt.). ‘Not three blocks removed 
from the heart of the theatre district’ 
(C. S. Johnson, The Negro in Am. 
Civilization, 199). ‘ The cheering 

crowd covered many solid blocks’ 
(M. Huxquit, Loose Leaves from a 
Busy Life, 111). 

Thus if, in Am., you inquire for 
Mr. Smith’s office and are directed 
to the next block, this means that 
it is just beyond the next corner. 
If, in Eng., you get the same answer, 
you will find the office in the next 
big building, whether beyond the 
next street corner or on this side of it. 

blockade. In Eng. used only in the 
well-known naval or military sense. 

In Am. used also of any cessation of 
progress when due to some kind of 
obstruction. ‘When a drawbar on the 
middle car of a Third Avenue elevated 
tram broke at Canal Street this morn- 
ing, a long blockade began.’ ‘Plans 
for relieving the tremendous railroad 
congestion, particularly the blockade 
of traffic on the Pennsylvania and the 
Baltimore and Ohio Railroads’ (W. G. 
McAdoo, Crowded Years, 470). In 
Eng. a congestion of this kind would 
be called a block, 

blood. As long ago as 1857 Oliver 
Wendell Holmes wrote: ‘Let me beg 
you not to speak of a “thoroughbred” 
as a “ blooded” horse, unless he has 
been recently phlebotomized. I con- 
sent to your saying “blood horse” if 
you like’ (Autocrat of the Breakfast 
Table, 33). Little attention seems to 
have been paid to his appeal, for we 
find even such a distinguished man of 
letters as W. D. Howells writing (in 
Harper's Monthly, June 1906) of ‘the 
blooded hunters or racers to whose 
breeding that great nobleman is said 
to be mostly affectioned’. ‘Fleisch- 
mann bought a string of expensive 
blooded horses’ (Diet. Am. Biog. vi. 
459). ‘He was never so happy as 
when his blooded horses were winning 
an international steeplechase’ (H. 
O’CONNOK, Mellon’s Millions, 244). 

In Am. waving the bloody shirt is fig. 
and spec, used to signify the stimula- 
tion of revengeful feelings by reviv- 
mg, for political purposes, the 
memories of the Civil War or of the 
Reconstruction period. ‘Memories of 
the Civil War were still rife, and to 
wave the bloody shirt in political 
assemblies was a not infrequent 
practice’ (G. T. Clark, Leland Stan- 
ford, 455). ‘The Rep. party had 
fattened on the hatreds of the Civil 
War through persistent waving of 
the bloody shirt’ (H. F. Pringle, 
Theodore Roosevelt, 73). The origin 
of this metaphor is variously attri- 
buted to»(l) an alleged practice in 
Corsican vendettas, of waving the 
blood-stained shirt of a wounded man 




as an incitement to revenge, and (2) 
a passage in which Gibbon says: ‘The 
sacred duty of pursuing the assassins 
of Othman was the engine and pre- 
tence of his ambition. The bloody 
shirt of the martyr was exposed m the 
mosque of Damascus.’ The former 
explanation seems the more likely, as 
Gibbon is not, as a rule, the favourite 
reading of Am. politicians. 

bloomer. In Am. this word, in 
addition to its ordinary meanings, 
may denote a type of tram-car. 
‘Attempting to board a moving 
Crescent Park bloomer car caused 
him to lose both feet and may cost 
him his life. The car was one of the 
new eight-wheel bloomers.’ 

blotter. In Am. the technical term 
for an oj9S[cial record at a public 
institution, esp. a police station 
(where it often corresponds to the 
Eng. charge-sheet), ‘A long and 
elaborate report of tlie affair, which 
covers ten pages of the big blotter at 
the Ardmore Police Headquarters.’ 
‘They also discussed the commis- 
sioner’s position in refusmg to throw 
the police blotters open to the [street 
railway] company and to citizens in 
the matter ot damage suits for acci- 
dents.’ ‘While the action of the sun 
in melting snow has reduced the 
liability of injury to pedestrians, the 
injury list is still growing, and three 
more additions were made yesterday 
on the hospital blotter.’ ‘It was 
necessary, when the question of 
priority arose, to examine the day- 
book or blotter in the chief clerk’s 
office [at the Patent Office] to deter- 
mine the exact time of day when the 
respective papers were filed.’ 

‘What wind brought you 
here?’ is a question one sometimes 
puts to a person who appears sud- 
denly and unexpectedly. The Am, fig. 
use of blow in seems to be an ana- 
logous idiom. It usually corresponds 
to the Eng. turn up, ‘As sfhe opened 
the vestibule door he blew in, most 
literally, on a drenching gust of 

Arctic cold.’ ‘Yesterday your old 
college friend, Clarence, blew in from 
Monte Carlo’ (G. H. Lorimer, Old 
Gorgon Graham, 47). See also 


blue. In the Am. Civil War the 
Union soldiers wore a blue uniform 
and the Confederates a grey. Ac- 
cordmgly, Pres. Theodore Roosevelt, 
speaking to an audience of Northern 
veterans, addressed them as ‘you 
who wore the blue in the great years 
from ’61 to ’65’ and referred to ‘your 
gallant foes who wore the grey’, 
‘ Until recently the survivors of either 
the Union or the Confederate armies 
— ^the wearers of the blue or gray — 
were conspicuous citizens m nearly 
every Am. hamlet’ (L. M. Hacker 
and B. B. Kendrick, The U.S. since 
1865, 3). 

In inter-university athletics blue is 
the Yale colour, ‘If you are going to 
bet, I should say, put your money on 
the Blue. Yale has a splendid team, 
and I look for a victory.’ 

The term blue laws is used in Am. 
primarily to denote certain restrictive 
regulations popularly supposed to 
have been imposed by their Puritan 
governments upon the early settlers 
in New England. Hence it comes to 
be employed also as a convenient 
term for any laws that restrict per- 
sonal liberty in such matters as 
Sunday observance, the drinking of 
intoxicants, &c. ‘They say that the 
people prefer Tammany corruption 
coupled with personal liberty to good 
government and the enforcement of 
blue laws.* ‘It is a widespread belief 
that “blue laws” were an invention 
of the Puritans, but in reality they 
began in antiquity and continued 
through the Middle Ages into modern 
times. Sumptuary laws were re*» 
peatedly enacted in the cities of 
Switzerland before the Reformation’ 
(Prof. S. M. Jackson, Life of Zwingli, 
22). ‘Our law books are cluttered 
with blue laws that are dead but un- 
repealed’ (L. Steffens, Autobiog. 
858). ‘In California, in 1883, the 




legislature repealed all the Sabbath 
blue laws’ (Prof. A. M. Schlesingeb, 
The Rise of the City, 334). ‘As far as 
morals and legislation go the Blue 
Laws of Connecticut could be dupli- 
cated in Virginia’ (J. Truslow 
Adaris, America’s Tragedy, 5). 

One must be careful to distinguish 
blue laws from blue sky Zaais, which 
are entirely different. ‘Blue sky laws 
are an Am. device for the protection 
of the inexperienced investor against 
fraud and misrepresentation in the 
sale of corporate securities . . . There 
have been two principal kinds of 
blue sky laws, regulatory acts and 
fraud acts’ (Encycl. Soc. Sci, ii. 602). 
For full details, see the article quoted. 
‘Idaho has in its Department of 
Finance what is officially known as 
the Bureau of Blue Sky, which 
analyses applications to sell stock, 
shares or bonds in Idaho, and none 
may be sold by companies or cor- 
porations issuing them except on a 
permit issued by it’ (World Aim. for 
1931, 871). ‘The greater number of 
these organizations were blue sky 
ventures brought into being to sell 
gold, silver and oil stock to the xm- 
wary’ (J. T. Flynn, God’s Gold, 
138). ‘In 1917 “Blue Sky” laws of 
three States were upheld by the 
Supreme Court. It was declared that 
in requiring dealers in securities to 
obtain licenses, and in giving to an 
administrative officer the authority 
to revoke licenses on certain grounds 
named, the statutes were within the 
police power to protect the public 
from fraud’ (Prof. C. K. Burdick, 
Law of the Am, Constitution, 575). 

The Am. bluMrd is a bird, so called 
from its colour, of the percher type. 
‘If they are constantly and regularly 
fed, jobins, bluebirds, sparrows and 
others of the house-haunting tribes 
are said to become fearless, and even 
affectionate.’ ‘Sweeter than any 
other sound to his heart was the blue- 
bird’s clear and confiding tremolo in 
the misty aisles of the woodland’ 
<B. C. Waltz, Pa Gladden, 209). 

A blue hock is in Eng. a Parliamen- 

tary or other Government report, but 
in Am. a register of Civil Servants. 
In the 1912 edition of his work on 
‘The Am. Government’ F. J, Haskin 
points out that ‘a graphic illustration 
of the growth of the civil service of 
the U.S. is afrorded by a contrast of 
the Government Blue Books pub- 
lished in 1816 and 1905. The one 
published in 1816 is not much larger 
than a child’s “reader”, and had but 
176 pages. The one for 1905 had 
4,219 pages.’ For another use of the 
term compare the following news- 
paper extract; ‘Some day the people 
will wake to the fact that the last 
Legislature spent a lot of money, that 
measures which would have been 
blocked under a properly careful and 
economical administration got through 
unchallenged, were not halted in the 
executive chamber, and reached the 
blue book.’ 

The name blueflsk is given to several 
Am, fish which are desirable for their 
eating qualities. ‘We need not jump 
to the conclusion that the codfish, 
shell fish and bluefish are going to the 

A variety of Poa which flourishes 
esp. in Kentucky, where it is highly 
valued for pasturage and hay, is called 
blue grass, ‘Reports from Lexington, 
Kentucky, indicate that blue laws m 
the blue grass region make the blue- 
bloods there feel blue.’ ‘The wind 
shook the happy leaves and trembled 
through the budding heads of blue 
grass’ (John Fox, Little Shepherd, 

A drug of which blue pills are made 
is called in Am. blue-mass, being 
prepared by rubbing mercury with 
glycerine, honey, confection of rose, 
&c., until a mass is formed. ‘About 
the only things the average rural 
citizen had to buy [in 1781] were hats, 
shoes, gunpowder, muskets, the Holy 
Bible, quinine, and blue-mass’ (Prof, 
T. J. Grayson, Leaders and Periods 
of Am. Finance, 29). 

Blue-nose is a coUoq. designation of 
a native of Nova Scotia. Acc. to 
the Century Diet, it is an allusion 




either to the hue given to the noses 
of its inhabitants by its severe winter 
or to a kind of potato so named 
which is largely produced there. 
‘The “Blue-noses” who come down 
from Nova Scotia to work in com- 
petition with Am. carpenters.’ ‘The 
green waters of the Back Bay, where 
the Provincial blue-noses are in the 
habit of beating the “Metropolitan 
boat-clubs’” (O. W. Holmes, Auto- 
crat of the Breakfast Table, 59). 

The name of blue-stem is given in 
Am. to various coarse but useful 
grasses, chiefly Andropogon furcaius, 

‘ On the high prairie where the grassy 
stretches extend for miles on an al- 
most unvarying level, the settlers 
found queer little oases of rank blue- 
stem, showing up in marked contrast 
against the buffalo grass’ (P. H. 
Pearson, Prairie Vikings, 24). 

board. In Am. one may boards or 
get on board, a train or car as well as 
a vessel. ‘The train will make stops 
at all the principal cities in order that 
delegates from the adjacent Con- 
gressional districts may board it.’ 
‘Three private detectives were on 
board the tram when it left Boston.’ 
‘Robert Louis Stevenson boarded a 
transcontinental immigrant train in 
1879’ (Prof. A. M. Schlesinger, 
The Rise of the City, 27). See 


This Am, use of the word has had an 
important effect on business termi- 
nology, as thus explained by an 
Eng, writer. ‘In this countiy F.O.B. 
means free on board the steamer — 
namely, the ocean-going vessel. Yet, 
in the U.S., F.O.B. means free on 
board the railway truck, because 
business men in the U.S. instinctively 
think primarily m terms of railway 
transport. Thus, if goods are bought 
in Chicago “F.O.B. San Francisco”, 
for destination to the Far East, the 
interpretation in the U.S. would be 
that the seller had fulfilled his part 
of the contract when he had placed 
the goods free on board the railway 
tru(i at Chicago, and had paid for 

the long transport to San Francisco, 
leaving the buyer to pay the costs 
of shipping the goods at that port’ 
(CuTHBERT Maughan, Trade Term 
Definitions, 59). 

In Am. board in the sense ot provide 
(or receive) food and lodging may be 
used concerning horses as well as 
human beings. ‘The owner of a large 
stable said that, being near the park, 
he had recently had some 70 horses 
to board.’ ‘Many horses were suffo- 
cated and burned to death early this 
morning when fire destroyed the two- 
story boarding stable.’ ‘Boarders 
wanted at Rockville Boarding Stable’ 
(Advt.). Accordingly the Am. board- 
ing stable = the Eng. livery stable in 
one of its meanmgs. 

The word boardwalk has been in- 
vented in Am. to denote a promenade, 
frequently at the seaside, constructed 
of wooden boards. ‘ The most elaborate 
decoration will naturally be on the 
boardwalk, one detail of which will 
be a continuous arch of electric lights 
along a distance of at least three 
miles.’ ‘The Anglo-Am. mind hides 
the edges of the sea of life with a 
board-walk of ethical concepts’ (L. 
Lewisohn, Up Stream, 116). ‘Fire 
at Coney Island destroyed four blocks 
of the boardwalk’ (World Almanac 
for 1933, 111). 

Board of Trade, In Eng. a Govern- 
ment Department responsible for 
matters relating to trade and industry, 
and thus largely corresponding to the 
U.S. Department of Commerce. In 
Am. an unofficial local association of 
business men, akin to a chamber of 
commerce. ‘A committee from the 
New Orleans Board of Trade has been 
touring the country to examine the 
grain conditions.’ ‘Chambers of com- 
merce, boards of trade, and merchants’ 
associations are organized primarily 
to promote the interests of business 
within their respective communities’ 
(Encycl. of the Social Sciences, iii. 
501). There seems to have been some 
misconception of the constitution of 
the Eng. body of this name in the 
statement of the N.Y. Independent 




(13 Aug, 1903) that ‘it will be im- 
possible for Mr. Chamberlain to buck 
against the unanimous Eng. Board 
of Trade’. 

bob has in Am. the additional mean- 
ing of a runner on which a load is 
drawn. ‘Spruce and hemlock logs 
drawn on bobs.’ It is esp. used of the 
runner of a sleigh or sled, which may 
accordingly be called a bobsleigh or 
bobsled, ‘Daddy drove the old horse 
and we sat on some boards nailed on 
the front bob of his old bobsled.’ 
‘Three boys are in Englewood Hos- 
pital as the result of a collision be- 
tween two bob sleds.’ Of recent years 
these words have come to some extent 
into Eng. use through the popularity 
of winter sports in Switzerland, and 
are consequently described by the 
Concise Oxf. Diet, as Anglo-Swiss. 

In allusion to its short tail the bay 
lynx {Lynx rufus) is called in Am. a 
bobcat. ‘Virgin soil, where for cen- 
tunes the wolves, bobcats and In- 
dians had leisurely roamed.’ 

The term bob veal is used in Am. of 
veal unfit for food. ‘A butcher was 
sentenced to pay a fine for having 
violated the Meat Inspection act by 
shipping in interstate commerce the 
carcasses of five bob veal calves to 
this city,’ 

boil. In Am., esp. in New Eng., the 
name of boiled dinner is spec, given 
to a meal which, according to a 
description given by the Springfield 
Republican^ is mainly ‘a symposium 
of vegetables and meats — corned 
beef, cabbage, hunks of pork, pota- 
toes, turnips, carrots, and onions — 
all potted together in appetizing con- 
tigmty, and boiled in a large iron pot 
hung by an S hook on the crane in a 
large open firejilace’. When all was 
done, ‘the entire mess was piled upon 
one great platter and set in the 
center of the table, pot liquor and 
all’. This was followed by ‘the 
Indian pudding, made of rich yellow 
com meal fresh ground firom the local 
grist-mill, and boiled m a bag’. ‘He 
never ceased to insist, once a week. 

on having for himself only an old- 
fashioned New Eng. boiled dinner’ 
(Prof. N. W. Stephenson, Life of 
N. W. Aldrich, 144). ‘Once seated, 
habit asserted itself and he attacked 
the boiled dinner with a ferocity 
which should have been exercised 
against Jethro ’ (Winston Chuechill, 
Comston, 120). 

fA white or linen starched shirt is 
sometimes colloq. called in Am. a boiled 
shirt. ‘Tammany Hall has progressed 
from shirtsleeves to the “boiled shirt”.’ 
‘A man in store-clothes — ^boiled shirt 
and derby hat, a flashy tie, a pair of 
gloves ; to the eyes of all save Euston 
a gentleman’ (Marie Van Voest, 
Amanda of the Mill, 27). ‘The long- 
tailed black undertaker’s coat, the 
boiled white shirt, the resplendent 
black tie’ (Dr. H. Zink, City Bosses 
in the U.S. 283). 

bolt. The announcement that Mr. 
Smith has bolted his ticket would 
naturally be interpreted by an Eng. 
reader as meaning that Mr. Smith has 
gulped down a bit of pasteboard 
without chewing it. It actually means 
that Mr, Smith has deserted the 
candidates of his party. (See ticjecet.) 
The verb bolt is used in Eng. as well 
as in Am. in the sense of rush amay, 
but its trans. use is unknown in 
Eng. exc. in the sense of fasten. An 
Englishman bolts from anything that 
he wishes to leave in haste and with- 
out ceremony. An Am. bolts it direct, 
without an intervening preposition. 
When, several years ago, the mem- 
bers of the Opposition walked out of 
the House of Commons en bloc as a 
protest against the moving of the 
closure, an Am. paper headed its 
report of this proceeding; ‘Bolted 
Commons During Debate.’ 

This use of the word is esp. common 
in connexion with Am. politics at 
election time. ‘Butler, who had all 
along voted for Jefferson Davis as the 
nominee, bolted the convention be- 
cause of this slave-trade speech.’ ‘It 
was Roosevelt’s intention to bolt the 
party when he arrived in Chicago’ 




(H. F. Pbingle, Theodore Roosevelt, 
564). ‘Though a bimetallist, I bolted 
Bryan’ (F. J. Stimson, My U.S. 64). 

The noun holt is used in a corre- 
sponding sense. ‘The nomination of 
Mr. Taft might hang upon preventing 
a Western bolt on the issue of the 
monetary bill’ (Prof. N. W. Stephen- 
son, Nelson W, Aldrich, 328), 

bond. See debenture. ‘Insistent 
demands for dividends, bond inter- 
est, and other fixed charges.’ ‘The 
public no longer wanted anything so 
stale and profitless as bonds, it 
wanted securities which would return 
profits. Company after company was 
takmg shrewd advantage of this new 
appetite to retire its bonds and issue 
new common stock in their place’ 
(F. L. Allen, Only Yesterday, 312). 
‘The banker’s pro& on underwriting 
the new stocks and bonds’ (L. 
Steffens, Autobiog. 191). 

Hence bond salesman, ‘Bond sales- 
men seldom get nch by investing in 
the securities which they so warmly 
recommend.’ ‘ The less active intellect 
of the bond salesman about to con- 
struct a letter’ (H. S. Canby, Better 
Writing, 12), ‘A group of 400 bond 
salesmen, organized in teams, made 
a house-to-house canvas in N.Y. 
City’ (W. A. Brown, in The N.Y. 
Money Market, iv. 312). 

In Eng. a warehouse, in charge of 
Custom House officials, in which 
goods liable to duty are stored until 
they are needed for sale, is called a 
bonded warehouse, A different Am. 
use of the term is thus described; 
‘In its efforts to standardize and 
organize the whole process of mar- 
keting produce. Congress has pro- 
vided, by the Warehouse Act of 1916, 
for the regulation of concerns engaged 
in the storage of agricultural com- 
modities entering interstate or foreign 
commerce. Federal control in this 
sphere is designed pnmanly to safe- 
guard growers against fraud and 
discrimination. With this end in view, 
every person who wishes to operate 
a warehouse coming within the terms 

of the Act IS required to satisfy the 
Secretary of Agriculture that his 
physical plant is adequate and to post 
a satisfactory bond demonstrating 
his ability to meet the obligations 
imposed by law. When approved by 
the Secretary such places are known 
as “bonded warehouses’” (C. A. and 
W. Beard, The Am. Leviathan, 544). 

bone. The Am. colloq. expression 
bone up = Eng. swot up, *I have 
known Congressmen, when they were 
boning up on a subject, to study as 
they had not studied smce they 
passed their final examinations ’ 
(W. Lippmann, Public Opinion, 291). 

For bonedryt see quotation. ‘The 
term “bonedry”, used in qualifying 
a prohibition law, indicates that the 
law prohibits the importation of 
liquor for beverage purpose whether 
or not it is intended that the liquor 
shall be sold’ (D. Pickett, Cyclop, 
of Temperance, 62). 

Am. boner = Eng. howler, ‘The only 
relief a teacher can be sure of in 
reading themes is the amusement 
which comes from some egregious 
“boner”.’ ‘A recent book of boners 
gives this definition of a sincere 
friend taken from a boy’s examina- 
tion paper.’ 

The Am. compound honey ard denotes 
a place where the bones of dead 
animals are collected. It sometimes 
= Eng, knacker^ s yard, ‘A dilapi- 
dated horse saved from the boneyard 
by the heroine of the story.’ ‘I have 
met men, Indians and hunters, who 
speak of “bone yards” which they 
have discovered — ^places where they 
can go at any time and be sure of 
finding a good set of caribou antlers’ 
(W. J. Long, Beasts of the Field, 70). 

booby is commonly curtailed in Am. 
to boob, ‘The boob who is too stupid 
to see that illegal driving is a two- 
edged sword.’ ‘Why should the 
revolt against dulness lead to the 
cult of smartness? Is the boob to be 
condemned and the smart-aleck en- 
throned?’ (Prof. E. Mims, Adven- 
turous Am. 141). ‘He [Jefferson] 




made a new acting version of The 
Rivals in which he elevated Bob 
Acres from a rustic boob to a quaint 
and whimsical eccentric’ (Diet. Am. 
Biog. X. 16). 

boom. ffThe O.jB.D. suggests that 
the Am. use of this word may be a 
particular application of boom in the 
sense of a loud deep sound with much 
resonance or humming effect, but 
with reference not so much to the 
sound as to the suddenness and rush 
with which it is accompamed. WTiat- 
ever may be the explanation, the 
noun IS a common term of the Am. 
business vocab. to denote a rapid 
advance or increase of activity. ‘The 
textile industries are looking up, and, 
while nothing like a boom is in sight, 
their outlook is decidedly more 
favorable.’ ‘The demand for labor 
in the first boom was met in con- 
siderable part by the demobilized 
soldiers and the revived immigration’ 
(Dr. E. E. Lewis, Mobility of the 
Negro, 111). There is a corresponding 
verb boom, both trans. and intrans. 
‘The sudden scarcity of laborers 
created a panic among the farmers, 
and boomed the sale of all manner of 
farm machinery’ (H. N. Cassok, Life 
of C. H. McCormick, 190). ‘The mer- 
chants soon began importing freely 
again, and business began to boom 
at last after the hard years’ (J. 
Tkuslow Adams, Hist, of the Am. 
People to the Civil War, 98). 

A boom town or boom city is one that 
is built up with a rush. ‘Quite as 
melancholy as the moss-grown ruins 
of older civilizations are the frame- 
built boom towns of the West, 
located wherp the railroad was once 
expected to go but did not.* ‘No 
boom city of the West can boast such 
a record of amazing and substantial 
growth.’ ‘In 1858 he was attracted 
to the boom town of Sumner’ (Diet. 
Am. Biog. IX. 462). 

A political boom is a concerted and 
strenuous effort to work up enthu- 
siasm for a candidate for office. ‘ The 
launching of the Gorman boom for 

the Presidency.’ In this sense, too, 
there is a corresponding verb. ‘There 
are half a dozen Rep. lawyers men- 
tioned and boomed for the vacancy 
on the Supreme Bench.’ 

boot. Hamlin Garland tells us in 
his autobiography (Roadside Meet- 
ings, 213) that when he went to 
Oakland to find Joaquin Miller a man 
said to him, ‘Yes, I know Miller. 
He’s a rough old fellow — ^wears 
boots.’ So, too, the Diet, Am. Biog, 
(xiv. 520) describes a former Senator 
from Alabama as exhibiting ‘a some- 
what rustic and old-fashioned style 
of dress, his feet being clad m the only 
pair of boots then worn in the Senate’. 
Why should the habitual wearing of 
boots be regarded as a mark of un- 
couthness? The explanation is that 
in Am. boot is specialized to mean a 
high boot or Wellington, while what 
IS ordinarily known in Eng. as a 
boot IS called a shoe. Some years 
ago a visitor at a Brighton hotel who 
was posing as a wealthy Am. was 
detected as a fraud through incau- 
tiously directing that plenty of cream 
should be used ‘in doing my boots’. 
An employee, who knew good Am. 
when he heard it, became suspicious, 
and communicated his suspicions to 
the manager. 

Inconsistently enough, an Am. calls 
the boy who shines his shoes a boot- 
black, while an Englishman calls the 
boy who blacks his boots a shoe-black. 
‘Nearly everybody in Am, takes part 
in it, down to boot-blacks and garage- 
boys’ (C. A. and W. Beard, The 
Leviathan, 220). ‘You can not even 
see a boot black’s stand in Munchen 
that is not full of kunst’ (Anita 
Loos, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 

The Am, compound bootlegger, de- 
noting an illicit seller of liquor, is now 
so familiar that it needs no illustra- 
tive quotations. It is said to have 
been originally applied to a man who 
surreptitiously conveyed liquor in his 

This word, as well as the correspond- 




ing adj. hooUleg^ may sometimes be 
used of other kinds of illicit traffic. 
‘Still earned on clandestinely after its 
legal abolition in 1808, conditions on 
the slavers when the trade became 
“boot-leg” were worse even than 
before’ (J. Tbuslow Adams, Ameri- 
ca’s Tragedy, 71). 

bosom is still used in Am. in the 
sense, now obs. in Eng., of a shirt ‘ 
front, ‘The waiters did not wear 
dress coats, shirts with soiled bosoms, 
or white aprons.’ ‘ Men’s Unlaundered 
Shirts, made of good muslin over 
perfect-fitting models. Three-ply 
linen bosoms reinforced back and 
front’ (Advt.). ‘Annoying, is it not, 
to sit in your chair and have your 
shirt bosom rise up out of your waist- 
coat? ’ ‘ I bought broad-bosomed 

shirts’ (Hamlin Gabxaot, Roadside 
Meetings, 420). 

boss, an adaptation of the Dutch 
has long been in general colloq. 
use in Eng. in the sense of master or 
foreman. In Am., which introduced 
it into our language, it has also a 
spec, political meaning. It denotes a 
politician who, although he may hold 
no office, exercises a dominating in- 
fluence in public life — dispensing 
patronage, settling disputes, deciding 
party tactics, and so on. ‘ The “ boss ”, 
in the common acceptation of the 
terra, is a man who concerns himself 
little with policies, and much with 
the bringing together of a majority 
which will enable him to keep his 
friends in office’ (Prof. A. B. Hart, 
Actual Government, 103). There are 
several derivatives, such as bossible, 
boss-ridden^ bossdom, bossism, and 

bottom. A stretch of low-lying land 
by the side of a nver is sometimes 
known in Am., as in Eng. dial., by 
the name of bottom or bottom land, 
‘We went down across the creek and 
entered a dark spruce bottom ’ 
(M. H. Hartwick, in Life in the 
U.S. 11). ‘Slave-owners who had 
sufficient credit to secure many 
negroes generally were able to pur- 

chase the good lands that lay along 
the rivers. Thus the slave population 
was densest in the fertile bottom 
lands’ (Prof. C. S. Sydnor, Slaveiy 
in Mississippi, 187). 

boulevard. Greenough and Kit- 
tredge have noted that, in the plan- 
ning of new residential districts in 
the suburbs of Am, cities, a boulevard 
will often be laid out ‘without con- 
sideration of the original meaning of 
that term or its later derived sense’ 
(Words and Their Ways, 318). Acc. 
to Bracket’s Etymological French 
Dict.^ this was originally a military 
term, meaning the terre-plein, or 
platform of ramparts. The boule- 
vards of Paris were, in the time of 
Louis XIV, simply the Ime of forti- 
fications round the city. This, 
planted with trees, became a fashion- 
able walk, and the word boulevard 
came afterwards to mean any walk 
or street planted with trees. In Am. 
nowadays it means no more than a 
wide and well laid-out main street or 
road, and often = Eng. arterial road, 
‘The trotting horse, the bicycle, and 
the automobile combine to demand 
good roadways in cities; and hence 
have grown up systems of boulevards, 
broad, winding, and well-surfaced, 
reaching from park to park and often 
from city to city’ (Prof. A. B. Hart, 
Actual Government, 328). ‘They had 
already begun that system of parks 
and boulevards which later enclosed 
the city in a ring of verdure ’ (Willis J. 
Abbot, Watching the World Go By, 
62). ‘The tourist booming along the 
Kansas-Colorado boulevard sees only 
a stretch of monotony that burns his 
eyeballs’ (M. McKernan, in Life in 
the U.S. 210). 

bounce is spec, used in Am. in the 
sense of dismiss from employment or 
^ect violently. Hence Am. bouncer =» 
Eng. chucker-out, ‘A minor pugilist 
and floor manager, otherwise “boun- 
cer”, in Bowery resorts.’ ‘The force 
of special “bouncers” employed by 
the Brooklyn lElapid Transit Co. to 
suppress rowdyism on its cars put in 




their first Stinday’s work yesterday.’ 
‘The bartender and the bouncer 
lifted him from the chair and threw 
him into the street’ (K. Bercovici, 
Around the World in N.Y. 392). 

bound. ‘When I was lecturing in 
Am. I was often told, in a radiant and 
congratulatory manner, that such 
and such a person was bound to come 
and hear me lecture. It seemed a very 
cruel form of conscription, and I could 
not understand what authority could 
have made it compulsory’ (G. K. 
Chestertoist, What I Saw in Am. 
279). Mr. Chesterton explains that, 
whereas in Eng. ‘he is bound to 
come and see you’ means that he is 
obliged to come and see you, in Am. 
it means that he is bent on coming 
to see you, that he is irrevocably 
resolved to do so, and will surmount 
any obstacle to do it. 

bourbon. The Bourbons, who for- 
got nothing and learnt nothing, have 
supplied the vocab. of Am. politics 
with a convenient epithet for an ultra- 
conservative or die-hard. It was origi- 
nally applied to a certain section of the 
Dem. party, but it may now be used 
of any kind of reactionary, whether a 
Dem. or a Rep. ‘Last week’s Home- 
Market Club demonstration of bourbon 
resistance to any reduction of the 
tariff,’ ‘The stand-pat bourbonism 
of the Rep. machine.’ ‘On this 
matter that section is to-day more 
exclusive and bourbonish and reac- 
tionary than it was 30 years ago.’ 
‘Often maligned as a Bourbon, a 
reactionary throwback to days of less 
social democracy, he always con- 
tended that he was a better friend 
to labor than many of labor’s more 
strident partisans in Congress’ (S. H. 
Acheson, Joe Bailey, 201). The 
term may be applied not only to 
political eonservatisra but to religious 
also. ‘The Presbyterian [in the 
South] is a Bourbon, as distrustful of 
theological Whiggery as he is proud 
of his well-won reputation for culture’ 
(E. McN. Poteat, in Culture in the 
South, 259). 

bow. In Eng. many varieties of 
bent things are called bows Am. has 
added to the list the sidesprings or 
the frames of the lenses in a pair of 
spectacles. In a biog. of Senator 
Aldrich Prof. N. W. Stephenson 
quotes him (p. 80) as saying in a 
speech: ‘The lowest-priced spectacles 
I could find anywhere in Washington 
were 25 cents per pair, and the man 
who offered them for sale was candid 
enough to say of them, “The glass is 
window glass and the bows are 
worthless’”’.’ ‘Lincoln drew from his 
pocket a pair of steel-bowed spec- 
tacles’ (F. E. Leupp, Walks about 
Washington, 33). 

bowl. The distinction between a 
bowl and a basin is not very definite. 
Acc. to the O.E.D, ‘historically a 
bowl IS distinguished from a basin by 
its more hemispherical shape ; a basin 
being proportionately shallower and 
wider, or with the margin curved 
outward, as in the ordinary wash- 
hand basin’. ‘But the actual use of 
the words’, the same authority adds, 
‘is capricious.’ Certainly bowl is 
commonly used in Am. for a recep- 
tacle that in Eng. would be called a 
basin^ * For this amount of money she 
can buy a bowl of milk and crackers.’ 
‘The cost of filling the family sugar- 
bowl in this way is about two cents 
per pound’ (W. E. Smythe, City 
Houses on Country Lanes, 159). ‘A 
5-cent glass of beer with a bowl of 
good soup thrown in’ (Dr. H. Zink, 
City Bosses in U.S. 148). In Eng., 
however, one speaks of a salad-bowl, 
finger-bowl, and punch-bowL 
The word may also denote an amphi- 
theatre. ‘Europe was bursting out 
with stadiums after the World War, 
and good-sized bowls were being 
hollowed in various parts of Am.’ 
(H. Justin Smith, Chicago, 361). 

box is spec, used in Am. baseball to 
denote the rectangular space in which 
the PITCHER (q.v.) stands. ‘It was 
a pitcher’s battle, with Ewing in the 
box for Cincinnati.’ 

The compound box-car denotes an 




enclosed and covered freight-car, as 
contrasted with a flat-car (q.v.). 
For this use of hox one may cf. the 
Eng. hcyrse-box. ‘An order has been 
issued for the building of 33 stations 
at different points along the line, 
where box-cars and old buildmgs are 
now being used.’ ‘One night several 
hundred box-cars in the Pittsburgh 
yards were soaked with oil and set 
on fire’ (L. Adamic, Dynamite, 32). 

The Eng. witness-box becomes in 
Am. a witness-stand. See stand. 

Brahmin is commonly used in Am. 
in a sense sufficiently indicated by the 
following quotations. ‘Dr. Holmes 
used to dwell rather too much on the 
qualities of what he styled “the 
Brahmin caste” in New Eng.; yet 
there was a certain truth in the dis- 
tinctions he thus pointed out. Long- 
fellow, for instance, as distingmshed 
from Whittier, belonged to this 
Brahmin caste, inclmmg to conserva- 
tism, and in the days of King George 
to toryism . . . Very little toryism 
appeared either in Thoreau or Long- 
fellow; but so far as ancestry went, 
at least on one side, both belonged to 
Holmes’s Brahmin caste — devoted, 
that is, to culture and religion, rather 
than to money-getting.’ ‘The fact 
that Douglass was able to live in 
Boston bears testimony to the grow- 
ing tolerance of New Eng., but it does 
not prove that the Brahmin clergy 
had by any means been driven from 
the field’ (Prof. W. P. Trent, Hist, of 
Am. Lit. 112). ‘Lowell’s democratic 
sympathies were separating him 
slowly yet imperceptibly from the 
“Brahmin” caste to which by in- 
heritance he belonged’ (F. Greens- 
let, Life of Lowell, 46). ‘New York, 
New Haven and Hartford stock at 
140, and now Boston and Albany 
stock at 200 ! These are rough times 
for securities of the Brahmin New 
Eng. type.’ 

branch may denote in Am. a small 
brook, without any suggestion that it 
is a tributary of a larger stream, ‘ She 
always went to the little branch back 

of the church and washed her feet 
clean’ (J. Peterkin, Roll, Jordan, 
Roll, 197). ‘Water is carried from a 
distant well or near-by branch’ (J, W. 
Hatcher, in Culture in the South, 

fbrass* The Am. expression get 
down to brass tacks = come to the 
pointy get down to details, ‘This bold 
sister was the first member of all the 
congregation who had taken the 
trouble to get down to brass tacks in 
a discussion of the scandal.’ ‘I cut 
it short there, and asked her to get 
down to brass tacks, as I was very 
busy’ (G. H. Lorimer, Old Gorgon 
Graham, 217). ‘Wilson had opened 
his campaign with a series of speeches 
aimed at corporations, turning many 
pretty phrases such as “guilt is per- 
sonal”, but not getting down to brass 
tacks on the pressing state issues’ 
(J. Kerney, Political Education of 
Woodrow Wilson, 65). 

break, fin Am. this name is given 
to the kind of mistake that in Eng. is 
commonly denoted by the French 
term faux pas, ‘Breaks and bulls 
were frequent in these speeches, for 
he always spoke extemporaneously.’ 
‘He has to edit the candidate’s letters 
and speeches; and goose-flesh comes 
out on him every morning as he picks 
up the newspaper, for fear that some 
unfortunate speech has been uttered, 
an indiscreet letter sent, or some 
other “break” made.’ ‘I’ve been 
afraid all along that you were going 
to spoil the only really sensible thing 
you’ve ever done by making some 
fool break’ (G. H. Lorimer, Old 
Gorgon Graham, 91). ‘Her spon- 
taneous laughter at some of my foolish 
and strange breaks’ (Dr. Franklin H. 
Martin, The Joy of Living, i. 246). 
An Am. book entitled ‘Breaks: Un- 
intentional Humor by Tired News- 
papermen and Others’ is a collection 
of amusing misprints, slips of the pen, 
and newspaper ‘howlers’. 

In the vocab. of Am. politics break 
is commonly used where split would 
be preferred in Eng. ‘The opposition 




was sufficiently influential to produce 
a party break in the Senate’ (Prof. 
H. J. Ford, Woodrow Wilson, 205). 
Am. an even break = Eng. quits, 
‘What the Tombstone scribe wished 
to bring out was that the “Greaser” 
and the “Chink” are about an “even 
break” when it comes to illustrating 
tricks that are vain.’ 

A customer at the stores will find 
that Am. broken lots — Eng. job lots 
and Am, broken sizes = Eng. odd 

breast-pin. Am. breast-pin some- 
times = Eng. brooch. The Eng. 
breast-pin is commonly called in Am. 
a stick-pin or scarf-pin, ‘Mrs. Ayl- 
shire raised and lowered a large gold 
breastpin with a deeply pneumatic 
sigh.’ Cf. STICK, 

breath. The common Eng. ex- 
pression take (me^s breath away seems 
to have lost away in crossing the 
Atlantic, ‘The daring campaign 
these men were waging took his 
breath’ (T. Dixon, The Clansman, 

breeze. In Am. the verb breeze is 
used fig. in much the same sense as 
BLOW (q.v.), but carries with it a 
stronger suggestion of rapid move- 
ment. ‘He breezed through the 
Louvre at such a pace that he broke 
aU rapid sight-seemg records.’ ‘The 
Rough Riders had breezed into 
Washington almost a week ahead, 
with Western effervescence and ex- 
hibitionism’ (H. F. Pringle, Theo- 
dore Roosevelt, 862), ‘When he 
breezed into the office of The Times 
as its new owner’ (Willis J. Abbot, 
Watching the World Go By, 85). 

brief. In the vocab. of the Eng. 
legal profession, a brief is a summary 
of the facts of a case, prepared by 
a solicitor for the instruction of the 
counsel who is conducting the case 
in court. It is, accordingly, a private 
document. In Am. the same word is 
used to denote a printed statement sub- 
mitted to the court by a lawyer. It con- 
tains all his arguments, citations, &c., 

and sometimes it runs to over 1,000 
pages. It thus corresponds largely to 
Eng. pleadings, ‘ The reargument [be- 
fore the Supreme Court] took place on 
April 13, when Senator Pepper sub- 
mitted a masterly brief and an elo- 
quent oral argument in support of the 
constitutionality of the statute’ (J. M. 
Beck, Our Wonderland of Bureau- 
cracy, 60). In a volume published in 
honour of Mr. Justice Brandeis on his 
75th birthday one of the contributors, 
referring to the period when that 
judge was practising at the bar, says 
that ‘by a series of arguments and 
briefs he created a new technique in 
the presentation of constitutional 
questions’. Another contributor to 
the same volume says that the part 
played by Mr. Brandeis in the famous 
Five Per Cent, case is not forgotten, 
for ‘the brief which he filed in that 
proceeding in his capacity as attorney 
for the Interstate Commerce Com- 
mission disclosed a thorough under- 
standing of the railroad problem’. 
The official Style Manual of the 
Government Printing Office at Wash- 
ington includes instructions for the 
pnnting of court briefs, 

broadcloth. An Eng. visitor to Am. 
is sometimes startled by seeing ad- 
vertisements of shirts made ‘of Eng. 
broadcloth’. To him, broadcloth has 
always meant a dressed black cloth 
fi:om which coats are made, and it 
seems strange to think that any one 
should wish to wear it next the skin. 
The explanation is that Am. broad- 
doth = Eng. poplin, 

fbromide. For the fig. use of this 
word m Am. see the following quota- 
tion. ‘Much talk [in 1907] about 
Gelett Burgess’s whimsical division of 
human beings into “bromides” and 
“sulfites” — ^the bromides being the 
majority of mankind who “all think 
and talk alike”, and “may be de- 
pended upon to be trite, banal, and 
arbitrary”, while the sulfites were 
those who do their own thinking, who 
“eliminate the obvious from their 
conversation” and have surprises up 




their sleeves’ (]Maek Sullivan, Our 
Times, iii. 515). 

The utterances of such persons may 
also be called bromides. ‘There was 
a dinner in his honor at which Roose- 
velt voiced a good many bromides 
about “pluck, honesty and private 
morality in public life”’ (H. F. 
Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt, 72). 
Ace. to C. G. Ross (The Writing of 
News, 225) a bulletin issued by a 
N.Y. newspaper for its staff defines 
a bromide as ‘a word, phrase or ex- 
pression, or turn of style, that is esp. 
lacking in originality — overworked, 

Hence the adj. bromidic. ‘The finest 
literary touch is of no value unless 
combined with a situation or an action 
which makes the most bromidic words 
then spoken splendid’ (F. J. Stimson, 
My U.S. 157). 

The fig. application of these terms 
is, of course, suggested by the use of 
bromides as sedatives and sleeping- 

broom* An Am. correspondent of 
the Landmark (June 1931, p. 368) 
states that what the Americans call 
a broom does not exist in Eng., while 
Eng, brooms are more like Am. Zong- 
handled brushes. The Century Diet. 
defines a broom, however, as ‘a brush 
attached to a long handle for sweep- 
ing; made chiefly of broom-corn in 
the U.S. and commonly of bristles or 
hair in Eng.’ 

brotherhood as a spec, title usually 
denotes in Eng. one of the organiza- 
tions that have been the outcome of 
the Pleasant Sunday Afternoon move- 
ment. In Am. the name has been 
adopted by the trade unions of rail- 
waytnen; e.g. the Brotherhood of 
Locomotive Engineers, the Brother- 
hood of Locomotive Firemen and 
Enginemen, and the Brotherhood of 
Raflroad Trainmen. ‘One effect of 
unemployment was to bring to the 
front the 5-day week movement and 
the demand by the railroad brother- 
hoods for the establishment of a basic 
6-hour day.’ ‘The movement for 

labor banking inaugurated by the 
Brotherhood of Engineers’ (Norman 
Thomas, America’s Way Out, 265). 

brown. The compound brownstone, 
denoting a variety of dark-brown 
sandstone, has in Am. a spec, implica- 
tion. Until the fashion of living in 
APARTMENTS (q.v.) set in, many well- 
to-do, and even wealthy, families in 
Am. cities occupied houses built of 
this material. ‘The theory that re- 
putable citizens are more neglectful 
of the franchise than those who are 
careless of the moral obligations of 
citizenship is not sustained by the 
facts. The “brownstone vote”, as it 
is called, is cast as completely as is the 
vote of the most crowded tenement 
house districts.’ ‘It was not till the 
late winter that the inhabitants of the 
brownstone districts, the prosperous 
minority in a word, received a revela- 
tion of the nature of Devery’s rule 
and of the degree of its arrogance’ 
(A. Hodder, a Fight for the City, 7). 
‘During the 1880’s a dark brown tide 
swept up the avenue. The late A. T. 
Stewart’s marble palace at the comer 
of 34th Street, long a magnet for 
sightseers, was eclipsed by the newer 
brownstone mansions of the Vander- 
bilts and others’ (Prof. A. M, 
ScHLESiNGER, The Risc of the City, 
84). Cf. the opening lines of Oliver 
Wendell Holmes’s verses entitled 

Little I ask ; my wants are few ; 

I only wish a hut of stone, 

(A very plain brown stone will do,) 

That I may call my own. 

brush may mean in Am, a short and 
sharp contest, esp. in sports. ‘Mr. 
Dodge was driving north, and got 
into a bmsh with a passing horseman. 
In close order the two swept up the 
stretch . . . He was thrown on a grass 
plot, and his horse continued the 
brush for about 10 yards.’ ‘Apart 
from the annual regatta, there are 
endless minor “brushes” for the 
“fresh-water sailormen”.’ ‘We were 
feeling pretty smart, as we had just 
had a brush down the river with 




several pairs of Middlebury College 
canoes, and passed them all by’ 
(F. J. Stimson, My U.S. 147). In 
describing (Atlantic Monthly, Oct. 
1931) his Shakespearian discovery at 
the Public Record Office, Dr. Leslie 
Hotson wntes. ‘Our business at 
present is not with the brush between 
Justice Gardiner and Francis Langley 
in 1597 over the Privy Council’s order, 
but with their quarrel in 1596 m- 
volving Wayte and Shakespeare.’ 
The verb brush is used in a corre- 
sponding sense. ‘Excitement ran 
high on the Speedway yesterday 
morning, when two runaways occurred 
during the height of the brushing.’ 
‘The dnvers who were prevented 
from taking their usual Sunday 
morning spin turned out during the 
afternoon, and spent a couple of 
hours brushing their fast steppers on 
the upper stretch.’ 

In Am. brush up, in the fig. sense of 
renew one^s studies of, is followed by 
on. ‘If you wish to brush up on your 
English you will find nothing better 
than etc.’ ‘The ex-governor must 
brush up a bit on his ecclesiastical 

buck. In addition to its other 
meanings, buck may be used in Am. 
to denote a male Indian or Negro. 
‘Crazy Snake [a chief of Creek In- 
dians] has the moral support of 200 
bucks, squaws, and chilcfren.’ ‘If a 
buck nigger should offer to escort a 
young wliite woman to church, her 
father, if he were a true Southern 
white man, would kill the brute as 
he would a mad dog’ (From a speech 
by the late Jeff Davis, Governor of 
Arkansas). ‘The young buck who 
graduated &om Carlisle was not 
likely to return to the blanket of his 
forefathers or prefer a squalid tepee 
to a livable frame house’ (Prof. A. M. 
ScHLESiNGER, The Rise of the City, 
373). In Eng. the term buck nigger 
is known, but buck is not used by 
itself in this sense. 

The word may even be applied to 
a male fish. ‘Roe shad were selling 

at $1.50 each this morning, and buck 
shad were bringing 75 cents.’ 

The verb buck = butt, kick, a dial, 
word in Eng., is in common use in 
Am. both trans. and intrans. ‘If the 
mayor bucks the leaguer that has 
conquered so many other mayors, he 
will win official freedom during the 
remainder of his term.’ ‘There’s no 
use bucking that idea’ (G. H. 
Lorimer, Old Gorgon Graham, 307). 
‘ It will be impossible for Mr. Chamber- 
lain to buck against the unanimous 
Eng. Board of Trade.’ 

tfbucket. The Am. compound, 
bucket-shop, does not denote, as one 
might suppose, a shop which offers 
buckets for sale. For its meaning see 
the following quotations. ‘The chief 
difference between the bucket-shop 
and the regular brokerage house, 
where trading is done on margin, is 
that the former does not as a rule fill 
the customer’s order, but takes it as 
a bet on the market, while the regular 
establishment does actually buy or 
sell the stock as ordered, carrying the 
same with its own or borrowed money 
at the expense of the customer who 
puts up the required cash margin.’ 
‘In general it may be said that a 
bucket-shop is a brokerage office 
where orders are never executed, and 
the funds of the customers are 
firaudently appropriated.’ ‘Bucket- 
shop transactions are readily and 
correctly classified as gambling, since 
they are nothing but betting on 
changes of prices’ (Encycl. Social 
Sci. VI. 556). 

bud. In Am. a colloquial term for 
a d6butante. A Philadelphia paper 
reports a young lady as having ‘made 
her formal bow to society at a tea 
given this afternoon at the residence 
of the fair bud’s grandmother’. 

bug. This word, which in Eng. is 
specialized to mean the Cimex lectu- 
larius, has no offensive associations 
in Am., where (as in the Eng. of a few 
centuries ago) it is virtually a syno- 
nym for insect Thus C. H. Sternberg 




could write (Life of a Fossil Hunter, 
272): ‘This superstitious fear which 
men and, even more, women have of 
snakes, lizards, and bugs, how cruel 
it isT ‘Setting Bugs to Catch Bugs’ 
is the heading of a leading article on 
the use of beneficent insects to destroy 
mischievous insects. ‘No man can 
sleep on St. Lucia till he gets used 
to the night song of bugs and frogs.’ 
Bug may even bS used as a synonym 
for hactenum, ‘In the new imlk 
regulations the Boston Board of 
Health places the limit on the number 
of bugs that a person should swallow 
with a glass of milk at about 
100,000,000. The new article in the 
rules provides that no person shall 
bring into Boston for the purpose of 
sale any milk which contains more 
than 500,000 bactena per cubic centi- 
meter.’ There is a suggestion of bac- 
terial influence also in such state- 
ments as: ‘Washmgton has had the 
roller-skating bug for the past three 
or four months.’ ‘Every one on the 
farm must have been bitten by the 
lazy bug.’ The curious Am. term 
bughouse does not denote a building, 
but is an adj., meaning dementi. 
Here the idea is that the person so 
described is inhabited by certain 
bacteria which produce lunacy. ‘The 
soldiers out here [in the Philippines] 
are getting bughouse drinking the 
native wine.’ 

In Am. the insect known in Eng. as 
a bug is distinguished from other 
kinds of insect by the name bed’-bug, 
‘The first few months in our new 
home were dominated by the pursuit 
of the bed-bug’ (C. McCbae, in Life 
in the U.S. 54). 

^ The older meaning survives in Eng. 
in bug-hunter^ a colloq. term for cn- 
tomologisty and in May-bug = cock- 

Am, lady-bug (a term found also in 
Eng. dial.) = Eng. lady-bird and 
Am. lightning-bug = Eng. fire-fly. 
‘As an enemy of the dreaded San 
Jose scale, which dotes on peach 
trees, the lady-bug is a rank failure.’ 
In What America is Doings an Eng. 

writer, Annette M. B. Meakin, tells us 
how she saw some children, in an 
Ohio town, chasing some bnlliant 
fire-flies. Presently one of the little 
girls ran up to her, exclaiming, ‘ I have 
caught three lightning-bugs.’ 

The Am. term fire-bug denotes an 
incendiary. ‘More than 50 lives were 
Jeopardized yesterday when a fire- 
bug started a fire in a 5-story brick 
double tenement.’ 

Am. rose-bug == Eng. rose-beetle or 
rose-chafer. ‘Then came armies of 
creatures to swarm over the tender 
rose leaves. What these left when 
satiated the rose-bugs appropriated.’ 

In Am. certain lighthouses have the 
name of bug — e.g, the Little Bug, 
Portland, Maine, and the Bug Light- 
house, Boston — ^but no one seems to 
know why. 

The bug-eye is defined by the Cen- 
tury Diet, as ‘a flat-bottomed center- 
board schooner of small size decked 
over, and with a cabin aft, used in 
oyster-fishing in Chesapeake Bay’. 
‘He was about as well qualified for 
the post as the master of a Chesa- 
peake Bay bug-eye would be to com- 
mand the Leviathan^ (The Mrrors of 
WaU Street, 226). 

bugaboo . The Eng. bugbear is in Am. 
a bugaboOi a word now used in Eng. in 
dial. only. ‘Thirty years ago Emerson 
was one of the bugaboos which were 
used to scare theological babies.’ ‘ The 
white worker balks at the bugaboo of 
“social equality”’ (S. D. Spero and 
A. L. Harris, The Black Worker, 
467). ‘ There is a new school of sooth- 
sayers who would frighten us with 
the bugaboo that independence of 
the Plulippines would disturb the 
present balance of power in the 
Orient’ (Sen. H. B. Hawes, Philip- 
pine Uncertainty, 202). 

building. In Am., building, with 
the definite article, commonly takes 
the place of the Eng. house as part 
of the name of a block of business 
oilices. Thus, the Equitable Building, 
the Woolworth Building, and the 
Empire State Building correspond in 




N.Y. to Bush House, Australia 
House, and Imperial Chemical House 
in liondon. In Am. a structure 
bearing the name of house would 
be understood to be a hotel. See 


Am. building and loan association ov 
building association == Eng. building 
society* ‘Building and loan associa- 
tions and their Eng. counterpart, 
building societies, are cooperative or 
quasi-cooperative institutions en- 
gaged in financing through mortgage 
loans the building and purchase of 
houses’ (Encycl. Social Sci. lii. 47). 
‘As a rule, building and loan associa- 
tions have confined their loans to 
city real estate, but in a few states 
they have made farm loans’ (Prof. 
E. S. Sparks, Agricultural Credit in 
U.S. 187). 

bulletin is used spec, in the Am. 
newspaper world as the technical term 
for * a brief telegram covering the mam 
facts of a story, complete m itself but 
usually followed by a detailed “ add ” ’ 
(D. Glass, Writing for the Press, 39). 
‘The plan was that, as soon as the 
decisions were handed out, we would 
rush the boy down to the man in the 
booth with a bulletin to the office, 
and then we would dash across the 
street with the ruling itself’ (The 
End of the Worlds 112), ‘Dunng the 
Hall-Mills murder trial, 60 leased 
wires carried bulletins to the news- 
papers of the country’ (Prof. H. C. 
Beearley, Homicide in U.S. 87). 

bully. The Shakespearian sense of 
bvXLy^ now obs. in Eng,, is still current 
in Am., where the word signifies 
firsUTote, excellent^ capital. ‘The 
Mayor was bronzed and in good 
spirits after his three weeks of idle- 
ness at the seashore. He said he felt 
bully.* ‘The suggestion is made that 
he would make a bully headmaster 
of a big boys’ preparatory school.* 
‘“It’s a buUy fire”, said the boy* 
(E. Orne White, Lesley Chilton, 

bumper. In addition to its Eng. 

uses, bumper denotes in the vocab. 
of Am. railways the apparatus known 
in Eng, as a buffer. ‘A car ran away 
and crashed into the bumper at the 
end of the line.’ ‘There will be from 
two to five men standing upright 
between the cars, riding the bumpers.’ 
‘When a fellow can’t get a free pass, 
and he has any sort of stuff in him, 
he’ll usually hustle for his car fare, 
rather than ride through life on the 
bumpers of a freight’ (G. H. Lorimer, 
Old Gorgon Graham, 255), 

fbunch is freely used n Am., as 
formerly in Eng., to denote any kind 
of collection or group. In Eng. it is 
now generally restricted to a cluster 
or tuft of things growing or tied 
together, though there are recent 
signs that the older sense is returning. 
‘A bunch of horses’, ‘a bunch of 
maps’, ‘a bunch of leases’, and ‘a 
bunch of statistics’ are examples from 
the Am. press. ‘A big bunch of 
automobiles parked in a road’ (L, 
Steffens, Autobiography, 855), In 
his novel, The Harbor, Ernest Poole 
describes one of his characters as 
buying ‘a bunch of meal tickets’ each 
week at a cheap restaurant. Ace. to 
the Washington Post, ‘the diplomatic 
bunch’ IS the term by which Washing- 
tonians ‘offhandedly 'call the legation 
people’, ‘Flavia had no inclination 
to eat lunch with a bunch of teachers* 
(L. N, Wright, Limbs of an Old Family 
Tree, 120). 

The verb bunch has in Am. a similar 
extension of meaning. ‘In the mean- 
time south-bound expresses often 
become bunched near the other end 
of the line.’ 

bunting. ‘The clubhouse was decor- 
ated with buntings and flags.’ In 
Eng. this would have been bunting, 
as the plur. form is unknown. 

bureau. In Eng. a desk or writings 
table with drawers; an escritoire. In 
Am. a chest of drawers, ‘She looked 
on the table, then on the bed and 
bureau in the bedroom.’ Hence 
bureau-scarf, meaning a cover for a 




chest of drawers. ‘She began em- 
broidering a bureau-scarf and table- 
cover for Lily’s room’ (Mary E. 
Wilkins Freeman, By the Light of 
the Soul, 347). 

Officially, a bureau is a division of an 
Am. government department, cone- 
spending to a department of an Eng. 
ministry. (See department.) Thus, 
while the Eng. Ministry bearing the 
name of the Board of Trade has its 
Mines Department, the Am. Depart- 
ment of Commerce has its Bureau of 
Mines, ‘In 1862 the then Bureau of 
Agriculture was raised to the rank 
of a Department’ (L. M. Hacker 
and B. B. Kendrick, The U.S. since 
1865, 178). In general, the word is 
often used in Am. where Eng. usage 
would prefer office or organization. 
Thus, Am. Weather Bureau = Eng. 
Meteorological Office. ‘The Diocesan 
Committee has established a bureau 
where poor people can secure good, 
serviceable clothing at a nominal 
price.’ ‘Wilham F. McCombs of his 
own motion started a bureau in aid 
of Wilson’s candidacy’ (Prof. H. J. 
Ford, Woodrow Wilson, 156). 

Am. bureau of information = Eng. 
inquiry office, ‘The same statement 
would appear quite natural if coming 
from the ticket agent or a boy at the 
bureau of information’ (Dr. J. M. 
Rice, The People’s Government, 34). 

tburn. When it is said in Am. that 
some one possesses money (or what- 
ever it may be) to bum, the suggestion 
is that he has so much that he might 
throw some of it into the fire without 
missmg it. It is thus equivalent to 
saying that he has enough and to 
spare. ‘The most bitter fight is being 
waged in the 29th district. There is 
campaign literature to bum there.’ 
‘To say that the Arctic regions have 
mastodons to burn would be an ex- 
travagant statement of the case, but 
discovenes like that now reported 
from the upper Yukon are not xm- 
usual.* ‘It is said that cremation is 
fashionable in Eng. But it has al- 
ways been understood that they have 

population over there to burn.* ‘She 
has already had library experience to 
burn.’ ‘A supposed Miss Moneybags, 
who had dollars to burn’ (E. L, 
Banks, Autobiog. of a Newspaper 
Girl, 265). 

For burnsides, see side. 
bus. In an account of a fire in the 
restaurant of the Capitol at Washing- 
ton, a newspaper reports that ‘about 
23 bus boys and dishwashers fled 
from the building in terror as smoke 
filled the kitchen’. What were bus 
boys doing in the kitchen? Their 
work surely was m the stables or 
garage. The explanation is that the 
Am. bus boy or bus girl is a servant 
who goes round the tables at an 
eating-house and removes the trays 
and plates that the customers have 
finished with. ‘Having started with 
Filipino bus boys, a local restaurant 
gradually substituted Filipino for 
white Am. workers in other depart- 
ments of work’ (Bruno Lasker, 
Filipino Immigration, 46). ‘For 8 
or 9 months he worked as bus-boy 
in various restaurants, clubs and 
hotels’ (E. Wilson, The Am. Jitters, 
122 ). 

In this sense, as in its normal Eng. 
sense, bus seems to be an abbrev. of 
omnibus. F. P. Grove (A Search for 
Am. 37) quotes a restaurant keeper 
as saying: ‘I cannot put you on as a 
waiter at once. But I will take you 
on as an omnibus. You will have to 
help the regular waiters out, carry 
trays fiill of soiled dishes to the 
kitchen, help to clean the silver, and 
make yourself generally useful.’ 

bushel. The Eng. bushel is slightly 
larger than the Am. It has a capacity 
of 2,218*192 cubic inches. Am. re- 
tains the earlier Winchester bushel 
(superseded in Eng. in 1826 by the 
Imperial bushel), which has a capa- 
city of 2,150*42 cubic inches. 

business. For business agent, see 
AGENT. Am. bvcsiness suit — Eng. 
lounge suit, ‘A generation or so ago 
the average Congressman would no 
more have gone on the floor in a 




business suit than he would have 
followed Jerry Simpson’s alleged 
example and appeared without socks.’ 
‘Coohdge appeared in his first review 
of the Grand Fleet in a business suit 
and a yachting cap’ (W. Allen 
White, Masks in a Pageant, 451). 
‘I was having all sorts of fashionable 
clothes made for my start in life; 
morning suits, evening suits, sporting 
and even business suits ’ (L. Steffens, 
Autobiography, i. 166). 

busy, T 

work^ stir oneself ^ look alive* * He said 
he did not apprehend any great 
difficulty in clearing away the snow. 
“We are getting busy, right away,” 
he said, “and have 3,000 men work- 
ing.’” ‘The Lord helps those who 
help themselves, and Boston should 
get busy and give the matter of port 
development carefiil study witjhout 
further delay’ (F. J. Stimson, My 
U.S. 92), ‘An officer at the Station 
House told them that they better get 
busy and get bail or they would have 
to stay in jail all night’ (W. B. and 
J. B. Nokthbop, The Insolence of 
Office, 47). 

In the vocab. of the Am. telephone 
system Line busy == Eng. Number 

butcher. ‘The steward of the 
dhiing-car brought pots of steammg 
coffee, and the “butcher” brought 
baskets of fruit, and the train con- 
ductor brought real Scotch’ (Upton 
S iNCLAiB, Money Wntes, 124). What 
is a butcher doing in the personnel of 
a railway train? And why should he 
thus trespass, apparently, on the pro- 
vince of a fhiiterer? The explanation 
is that, in Am., the word butcher may 
denote a vendor of miscellaneous 
articles on a train. Thus; ‘When he 
was twelve, he put in his application 
to the news company and became a 
“train butcher” ... He was “candy 
butcher” two years.’ ‘In his waking 
hours the traveler is bullied by the 
chesty “train butchers” who regard 
all men and women who come within 
the sound of their rasping voices as 

victims.’ ‘The peanut butcher on a 
train one day was trying to sell him 
Henry George’s “Social Problems’” 
(L. Steffens, Autobiog. 475). 

butt may denote in Am,, as in 
Ireland, the stump of a partly 
smoked cigar or cigarette. ‘Take the 
Brooklyn Bridge station. An ex- 
amination of the roadbeds there at 
almost any time will find them 
covered with paper scraps, cigarette 
and cigar butts. Anybody who stands 
on the platform five minutes may see 
patrons tossmg them upon the tracks,* 
‘Those who had eaten stood about 
for a few moments lighting cigarette 
butts.’ ‘I do not for a moment pre- 
tend that it [smokingl is anything 
but a rather unpleasant habit; butts, 
ashes, smell’ (Alice Roosevelt 
Longworth, Crowded Hours, 62). 

button. In Am. a button may be a 
coUar^stud or cuff-link* In a biog. of 
his father, the famous evangelist, 
W. R, Moody illustrates his simplicity 
of life by telling us that he wore no 
jewellery and even dispensed with cuff 
buttons in later years. ‘The others 
looked at him as if they were ready 
to swallow him, starched collar, neck- 
tie, collar-button, shoes and all’ 
(K. Bercovici, Around the World 
in N.Y., 402). 

The word also denotes a celluloid 
emblem worn on a coat lapel during 
election campaigns and bearing the 
favoured candi<£ite’s portrait. ‘Re- 
presentative Fitzgerald appeared in 
the House to-day wearing in the 
lapel of his coat a handsome button, 
on which was photographed the like- 
ness of Judge Parker, and an inscrip- 
tion declaring his candidacy for the 
Presidency.’ ‘A large number of 
Hearst buttons were noted in the 
crowd.’ ‘The streets were strewn 
with the socialist party buttons, 
which voters had thrown away when 
the news came’ (L. Steffens, 
Autobiog. 688). It seems that this 
use of the word was once common in 
Eng. Acc. to a quotation in the 
0,E*D, SuppL it is traceable back to 




Jacobite times, and Repeal buttons 
were highly favoured in Ireland 
during the closing years of O’Con- 
nell’s ascendancy. 

button-ball or button-wood is the 
popular Am. name for the Occidental 
plane-tree, so called from its round, 
pendent fruit. ‘A large button-ball 
tree stands in front of the second 
house.’ ‘Walking slowly under the 
mottled branches of the button- 
woods.’ ‘The button- wood throws off 
its bark in large flakes’ (O. W. 
Holmes, Autocrat of the Breakfast 
Table, 338). ‘The technique of in- 
vesting funds had undergone changes 
in many details since the first in- 
formal selling under the buttonwood 
tree in Wall Street’ (Dr. M. G. 
Myers, The N.Y, Money Market, 
i. 37). 

buzz. The Am. term buz& saw de- 
notes a circular saw. It is so called 
from its characteristic noise when at 
work. ‘John Hanson, who is em- 
ployed at George A. Stevens’s box 
shop, had the thumb of his right hand 
severely lacerated Saturday while at 
work with a buzz saw.’ The term is 
often used fig. ‘McLaughlin [a N.Y. 
political leader] and his men will 
know better next tune than to 
monkey with the buzz saw.’ ‘The 
leaders of both the Dem. and Rep. 
parties will discover that municipal 
ownership is a dangerous buzzsaw, 
which they should leave severely to 

by. The expression by and large, 
meaning generally speaking, to all 
intents and purposes, is rare in Eng. 
but common in Am. ‘By and large, 
mankind had no serious use for 
master planning before 1800.’ ‘By 
and large, the work of the graduates 
of West Pomt has compared well in 
civic worth with that of the men of 
other colleges.’ ‘The paper which 
goes into the homes of the fairly 
prosperous is by and large the one 
which offers most to the advertiser’ 
(W. Bippmann, Public Opinion, 

4079 n 


cabin. Mrs. Stowe’s famous story, 
Uncle Torn's Cabin, has familiarized 
Eng. readers with the Am. use of the 
word, now obs. in this sense in Eng., 
to denote a small and roughly built 
cottage. ‘The cabin was of the 
rudest sort, with a single room, a 
single window, a big fireplace, and a 
huge outside chimney’ (W. E. 
Curtis, The True Abraham Lincoln, 

cabinet. The term cabinet minister 
is unknown in Am., where cabinet 
member or cabinet officer takes its 
place. ‘The youngest cabinet mem- 
ber since Alexander Hamilton’s day’ 
(Diet. Am. Biog. viii. 397). ‘No man 
has ever been permitted to rise from 
the position of attorney in the De- 
partment of Justice to the position 
of a cabinet member* (Dr. J. M. 
Bece, Our Wonderland of Bureau- 
cracy, 120). ‘With him they swept 
out of office the whole crew of third- 
rate cabmet officers.’ ‘Present prac- 
tice makes no provision whatever for 
the appearance on the floor of either 
house of Congress of that cabinet 
officer who would be best qualified 
to discuss the proposal’ (Dr. N. M, 
Butler, Looking Forward, 142). ‘A 
number of Wilson’s cabinet officers, 
specifically Secretary of State Lan- 
sing, Secretary of the Interior Lane, 
and Attorney General Palmer, gave 
ready ear to the indignant charges of 
the interventionists’ (L. M, Hacker 
and B. B. Kendrick, The U.S. since* 
1865, 479). See family. 

The difference between the Eng. and 
the Am. nomenclature is signfficant 
of a difference in fact. An Am. 
cabinet, though often called an 
administration (q.v.) is not a 
ministry in the Eng. sense. In parti- 
cular, it has no collective responsi- 
bility. It is composed of the heads 
of the Federal departments (q.v.). 
The term cabinet is sometimes 
loosely used in Am, to denote minor' 




groups of official advisers. ‘The 
chairmanships [of committees in the 
House of Representatives] being dis- 
tributed m the discretion of personal 
favor of the speaker, carry with them 
a recognition of obligation to the 
speaker which gives him great in- 
fluence over the action of committees. 
So great is this influence that some 
speakers have referred to the chair- 
men as “my cabinet”.’ ‘Generally 
speaking a mayor may have the 
resignation of any of his cabinet’ 
(Prof. C. E. Mebbiam, Chicago, 258). 

caboose. In Eng. a kitchen on a 
ship’s deck. In Am. a brake-van on 
a freight (goods) train, used by the 
conductor and the brake-men. ‘He 
told how he had to get a permit to 
ride to his destination in a caboose, 
and of the vivid memory which he 
yet had of that terrible ride at the 
rear of a freight train.’ ‘The rest of 
the crew knew nothing of the accident 
until they saw from the caboose 
windows the bodies of their fellow- 
employees lying along the tracks.’ 
‘Many a time when he was trying to 
get a little sleep in a wayside station, 
while waitmg for a connection, or lay 
in a bunk in the caboose of a freight 
train, the special car of his opponent, 
decorated with flags and lithographs, 
would go sweeping by’ (W. E. 
CuBTis, The True Abraham Lincoln, 
113). ‘Not wanting to be separated, 
the family decided to ride in the 
caboose of the train which earned 
their possessions’ (W. F. Dexteb, 
Herbert Hoover and Am. Indivi- 
dualism, 9). 

cadet. This term is sometimes used 
in Am., esp. in N.Y., as a euphemism 
for procurer. ‘Disorderly houses 
multiply, and there are signs that the 
“cadet” infamy is again in existence.’ 
‘The keeper of a brothel finds it a 
lucrative business. The cadet, pan- 
derer, and white slave dealer all find 
this business fascinating from the 
purely business view-point’ (H. M. 
PozxocK and W, S. Morgan, Modem 
Cities, 320), ‘The sidewalks in front 

of a burlesque show are thronged 
with pimps and panderers who offer 
to conduct the patrons of the show 
to a house of ill-fame. These cadets 
realize that the passions of the cus- 
tomers at the show have been highly 
aroused’ (M. A. Elliott and F. E. 
Mebrill, Social Disorganization, 

cage is a technical term in Am. base- 
ball for the special enclosure in which 
battmg practice is sometimes carried 
on. ‘While the baseball men are 
learning to slide for bases in the cage’ 
(J. Corbin, An Am. at Oxford, 148). 

cake. If an Eng. visitor to Am. asks 
for cakeSy he is likely to be offered 
something very different from what 
he wants. Cake m Am. is very much 
the same as in Eng., but the plural 
form is reserved for a small portion 
of batter fried on a griddle — b, kind 
of pancake — commonly of buck- 
wheat. One may compare the Am. 
usage with the familiar appellation 
of Scotland as ‘the land of cakes’, i.e. 
not sweetened or fancy confectionery, 
but oatcakes. ‘News, like buck- 
wheat cakes, is not good for much 
after it becomes cold’ (E. L, Shuman, 
Practical Journalism, 87). See also 

calamity is used in Am. in some 
curious combinations. A calamity 
howler is a pessimist, and his indul- 
gence in gloomy forecasts is calamity 
howling. ‘Common stock should be 
either eliminated entirely or divi- 
dends postponed for a period of not 
less than five years, so that it will not 
become the football of every calamity 
howler.’ ‘The most striking feature 
of his address is his direct reference 
to the failing business prosperity of 
the country. He is the first one among 
the leaders in the campaign to intro- 
duce what the other side may tersely 
caU “calamity howling”.’ ‘The only 
calamity howler with whom I con- 
versed was an old fellow who dis- 
coursed upon the degeneration of 




A calamity issue at an election is ati 
issue that is likely to be disastrous 
to the party that raises it. ‘Croker 
invited Bryan to see him for the 
special purpose of asking him to drop 
free silver and other calamity issues 
next year.’ 

calendar. The use of this term to 
denote a cau$e4i$t in the law courts 
is not limited in Am., as in Eng., to 
criminal trials. ‘The calendar was 
loaded with all sorts of suits, most 
of them hinging on the question 
whether Sun Mountain contained one 
lode or many’ (Dr. G. D. Lyman, 
Saga of the Comstock Lode, 189). 

It is also the normal term for the 
ofiicial agenda of Congress, thus 
corresponding to the order paper of the 
British Parliament. ‘Shortly there- 
after, the adjournment resolution was 
acted on, leaving the prohibition pro- 
posals hanging fire to go on the 
calendar for disposition at the open- 
ing of the December session.’ ‘The 
present Committee on rules controls 
the calendar and procedure’ (J. M. 
Becic, Our Wonderland of Bureau- 
cracy, 207). ‘Stanford reintroduced 
the bill in December 1891, and in due 
course it was reported with an amend- 
ment by the committee and placed 
upon the calendar’ (G. T. Clabk, 
Leland Stanford, 455). 

In Am., CATALOGUE (q.v.) takes the 
place of the Eng. calendar to denote 
the official year-book of a college or 

calico. The difference between the 
Eng, and Am. uses of this word is 
indicated by the complaint of an Am. 
woman writing to the Manchester 
Guardian of her difficulties in shop- 
ping in Eng. ‘I go to the draper’s 
shop’, she says, ‘for some unbleached 
muslin. I find I am buying calico, 
although my idea of calico is a cheap 
cotton print.’ 

call. Both the term call loan and 
the transaction it represents are 
peculiar to Am. N.Y. brokers obtain 
their funds through either time loans 

or call loans. The former are made 
for a specified date, whereas the latter 
can be terminated by either party at 
a day’s notice. A call loan is made 
upon collateral which must have an 
aggregate market value of at least 
20 per cent, above the face value of 
the loan. ‘The most distinctive fea- 
ture of the present-day money market 
in N.Y, is the call loan. In none of 
the European money centers has a 
similar type of loan reached such pre- 
dominance or been utilized in the 
same degree. The demand loan se- 
cured by stocks and bonds is a 
peculiarly Am. product . . . The call 
loan made its appearance in N.Y. in 
close association with bankers’ bal- 
ances, and would never have become 
important if there had not existed 
these great reservoirs of funds avail- 
able for just such a use’ (Dr. M. G. 
Myers, The N.Y. Money Market, i. 

For call market see quotation, which 
refers to the speculations of the late 
B. P. Hutchinson on the Chicago 
Board of Trade. ‘He took the lead 
in organizing the “call market” for 
dealing in “puts and calls”. This 
method of dealing consists in the sale 
by one operator to another of the 
option of buying from or selling to 
the person giving the option a future 
contract in grain or provisions within 
a range of prices and over the period 
intervening between the close and 
opening of the market’ (Diet. Am. 
Biog. ix. 437). 

The Am. colloq. expression call 
down challenge^ reprove. ‘The Presi- 
dent did a wise thing in calling down 
the aggressiveness of the labor or- 
ganizations in the attempt made by 
some of them to declare that union 
labor only should be employed in the 
Government service.’ 

For call to order, see order. For 
calling card, see visit. See also admit. 

camp. When an Am. tells you that 
he is going to a summer camp, it is 
not safe to assume that he intends 
to live the simple life imder canvas. 




‘The word camp is ambiguous as 
applied to abodes in the Adirondack 
forest, for it may be used to designate 
a snug little cabin, with its modest 
half-acre of territory, or it may apply 
to an extensive establishment that 
represents the outlay of thousands of 
dollars, standing in the midst of a 
royal estate of 50,000 acres, including 
forests, mountams, and lakes.’ 

campaign* The military metaphor 
of a campaign is not unknown in Eng. 
as applied to the propaganda con- 
nected with a political election, but 
in Am. it is in much more common 
use. It has given rise to several 
specific terms peculiar to the U.S. 

Thus, a campaign biography is a 
biography of a candidate (esp* for the 
Presidency) published shortly before 
the election and written with the 
special object of attracting votes. 
‘Probably no presidential nominee 
was ever wholly pleased with his 
campaign biography, no matter how 
eulogistic.’ ‘Howells was appointed 
as consul to Venice while stiU in his 
twenties — ^he won the appointment 
as a result of a campaign biography 
he had written of Lincoln’ (V. F, 
Calverton, The Liberation of Am. 
Literature, 375). 

In preparation for an election, each 
party issues an ofiicially authorized 
campaign book, for the special benefit 
of writers and speakers on its own 
side. This is a substantial volume, 
which might be described as a store- 
house of relevant facts, statistics, and 
arguments. ‘The Rep. campaign 
book stands upon the record of the 
party, which is a record of promises 
made good. The Dem. campaign 
book also will have to stand upon the 
record of the party, but it is a record 
of broken promises and unfulfilled 
predictions.’ ‘On Monday the Presi- 
dent is to see the manuscript of the 
Rep. campaign book which has been 
compiled for use m the Congressional 

The more generic term campaign 
document may denote not only either 

of the two compilations above men- 
tioned but any kind of electioneering 
literature. ‘It does not appear that 
any effort will be made to prevent 
the distribution of the pamphlet 
as a campaign document, any more 
than a speech from some public man 
containing partisan material.’ ‘ His ex- 
temporaneous address was so master- 
ful and clever that it was selected 
by the state Rep. committee as a 
campaign document’ (Prof. D. C. 
Barrett, The Greenbacks and Specie 
Payments, 225). ‘He delivered a 
rollicking speech against Cass which 
was essentially a campaign document’ 
(Diet. Am. Biog. xi. 245), ‘In 1857 
Hinton R. Helper published a violent 
attack on slavery in a volume which 
has been said to have sold or been 
given away to the extent of about a 
million copies in the next four years, 
having been used as a Rep. campaign 
document in I860’ (J. Truslow 
Adams, America’s Tragedy, 134). 

The term campaign chairman is ex- 
plained by the following quotation. 
‘Experience has shown that it is the 
candidate, and not the chairman of 
the campaign committee, who leads 
his party to defeat or victory. 
Blaine’s failure to reach the Presi- 
dency and Harrison’s success were 
equally independent of the campaign 

A campaign club is an organization 
of supporters of a candidate, formed 
in order to promote his election by 
a variety of means. For an excellent 
sketch of the work of such clubs see 
'the chapter on ‘The Presidential 
Campaign’ in Bryce’s Am» Common’^ 

A campaign emblem is a party sym- 
bol; e.g. the Rep. eagle and the Dem. 
cock (or rooster, as it is called in Am.). 
It usually appears on a ballot paper 
at the head of the list of candidates 
nominated by the party that has 
adopted it. It may also be frequently 
seen on banners and personal badges. 
It must be distinguished from the 
zoological figures which cartoonists 
have popularized; e.g. the Rep. 




elephant and the Dem. donkey. In 
the following passage the term is 
used in a slightly different sense: 
‘The rails [split by Lincoln in his 
early days] were taken to the National 
Convention at Chicago and had a 
prominent place at the Illinois head- 
quarters. Later in the campaign they 
were sent &om place to place in the 
country, and other rails from the old 
farm were also used as campaign 
emblems’ (W. E. Curtis, The True 
Abraham Lincoln, 27). 

can. In Eng. a can is a vessel for 
holding liqmds. In Am. it has a much 
wider signification, being practically 
equivalent to the Eng. tin in the 
sense of a metal container, esp. for 
preserved foods. ‘The story of the 
salmon from the spawn to the labelled 
can that sits upon the shelf of a 
grocery store.’ 

fHence the verb can and the nouns 
canner and cannery, * The great trusts 
which control the output of meats, 
sugar, oil, canned goods.’ ‘Canned 
meat and canned fish are not on a 
par with fresh articles’ (Dr, R. L. 
Alsaker, Eating for Health and 
Efficiency, 41). ‘The short supply of 
fruits is bothering canners.’ ‘Much 
of the garden product of the colony 
is canned at a near-by cannery.’ 
‘During the year some 3,000 of the 
Chinese were employed in the salmon 
canneries’ (J. W. Jenks and W. J. 
Lauck, The Immigration Problem, 

The double meaning of the verb can 
is illustrated in the reply of a resident 
in a fruit-growing district who was 
asked what the growers did with all 
their products. ‘ We eat all we can,’ she 
answered, ‘and we can what we can’t.’ 

Acc. to Webster the noun can may 
be used of a glass or earthenware jar 
in which food is preserved. At any 
rate, food so preserved may be in- 
cluded among canned goods, so that 
canned may be a synonym not only 
for tinned but for bottled. 

For garbage can^ see garbage. 

candidacy is preferred in Am. to 

candidature, which is the usual term 
in Eng. ‘The candidacy would be an 
excellent advertisement. ’ ‘ A minority 
supported the candidacy of “Little 
Tim” Sullivan for vice-chairman* 
(Dr. H. Zink, City Bosses in U.S. 
165). ‘These things help his candi- 
dacy quite as much as any qualities 
of intellect’ (Price Collier, England 
and the English, 249). 

candle. There is an Am, compound 
candlemck, which denotes a particular 
style of embroidery for bedspreads. 
It is considered esp. suitable for old- 
fashioned four-posters. ‘The candle- 
wick spread on the four-poster’ 
(Sinclair Lewis, Work of Art, 335). 
‘A French knot candle wick bedspread 
done on cotton cloth spun and woven 
by her mother-in-law’ (A. H. Eaton, 
m Culture m the South, 303). 

candy is in Eng., exc. in certain 
dial., a particular form of sweetmeat, 
defined by the 0,E,D, as ‘crystal- 
lized sugar, made by repeated boiling 
and slow evaporation’. It is more 
hilly called sugar candy ^ and has no 
plural form. In Am. candy is a 
general name for everything included 
in the Eng. smeets (exc. m the sense 
of the sweet course at dinner) or for 
any confection having sugar as its 
basis. It IS as commonly used in the 
plur. as in the sing. ‘An arrangement 
by which they shall pay in to their 
teachers the pennies they ordinarily 
spend for candy.’ ‘The digestion 
must not be impaired by eating be- 
tween meals, nibbling candy, eating 
pastry or drinking soda-water.’ ‘An 
old lady sat near the gate offering 
candies for sale’ (Prof. M. Pupin, 
From Immigrant to Inventor, 43). 
‘The simple candies of yore — ^pepper- 
mint sticks, gum drops, candy hearts 
inscribed with sentimental mottoes — 
were supplemented by boxed con- 
fections’ (Prof. A. M. Schlesinger, 
The Rise of the City, 135). 

The Am, candy store thus = Eng. 
smeet shop, 

cane. In Eng. only a slender stick is 
ordinarily called a cane; e.g. that used 




as an instrument of punishment, or 
the swagger-cane carried by soldiers 
when walking out. In Am. a cane may 
be of any size and thickness. In his 
Retrospections (i. 163) John Bigelow, 
referring to the notonous attack 
made on Charles Sumner m the Senate 
Chamber, says that he was ‘assaulted 
and brutally beaten with a cane’. A 
few pages later he describes the as- 
sault as having been made with a 
bludgeon. One of the characters 
sketched by Dr. Harold Zink in City 
Bosses in the U.S. (p. 308) carries 
*a blackthorn cane’. H. Justin Smith 
(Chicago, 139) refers to ‘the canes 
stockmen punch steers with’. An 
Am. paper, reporting Viscount Snow- 
den’s introduction to the House of 
Lords, describes him as ‘leaning 
heavily upon his two canes’. See 
RUSH and switch. 

can not* 

‘Forever!* *tis a single word. 

Our rough forefathers deemed it two.’ 
So wrote C. S. Calveriey. He might 
have made the same comment on 
cannot, but in this case the preference 
for two words is a characteristic not 
only of our rough forefathers but of 
our cultivated Am. contemporaries. 
For example: ‘That can not be the 
President’s view’ (Dr. J. M. Beck, 
May it Please the Court, 427). Dr. 
Krapp thinks the Am. custom more 
consistent than the Eng., inasmuch 
as similar combinations — such as will 
not, shall not, may not, might not — are 
always written as two words. The 
difference between Eng. and Am. 
practice in writing has probably 
arisen from a difference in speaking. 
An Englishman actually says cannot, 
not can not, whereas an Am., with his 
more deliberate enunciation, dis- 
tinctly separates the can from the not, 

canopy. In Am. the canopy some- 
times = the canopy of heaven, ‘What 
under the canopy does little poverty- 
stricken Greece want with an outfit 
of warships?’ Here under the canopy 
= in the wide world, Cf. Shakespeare, 
Coriolanus, iv. v. 

canton is unknown in Eng. exc. as 
a technical term of heral(£y or as 
denoting a political division of Swit- 
zerland. In Am. it has a special use, 
illustrated in the following quotation : 
‘Lt. Col. E. E. Gilson, of Canton 
Athol, has been elected colonel of the 
5th regiment of Odd Fellows, depart- 
ment of Massachusetts. This regi- 
ment includes a number of cantons in 
the middle and western part of the 

canvas(s). At an Eng. election 
canvassing is house-to-house visita- 
tion for the solicitation of votes In 
Am. it is also the official counting or 
scrutinizing of the votes after the 
polling. Accordingly, canuus^cr, which 
in Eng. denotes only a person who 
solicits votes, is in Am. also equiva- 
lent to the Eng. scrutineer, ‘The 
canvass of the vote in Illinois has 
been completed, and the totals give 
the Rep. candidate’s vote as 632,745 
as against 828,006 for the Dem, 
candidate.’ ‘Governor Murphy has 
appointed the State Board of Can- 
vassers . . . The board will meet in the 
State House next Tuesday, and offi- 
cially determine the number of votes 
which were cast for the different 
candidates for State offices at the 
recent election.’ ‘Application was 
made for a mandamus compellmg the 
recanvassing of 43 alleged void 
ballots.’ ‘The election boards can- 
vassed the returns’ (Prof. A. E. 
Martin, Hist, of U.S. ii. 147). 

The canvas-back {duck), a much- 
prized table delicacy in Am., is a 
variety of duck {Fuligula valisneri- 
ana) which owes its name to the 
colour of its back feathers. ‘These 
are the hasty conclusions of a man 
who has eaten his canvas-back and 
drunken his claret’ (W. D. Howells, 
Letters Home, 46). “‘No, I didn’t 
starve,” I answered, “but I haven’t 
hved on canvas-back duck nor lob- 
sters and things’” (E. L. Banes, 
Autobiog. of a Newspaper Girl, 93). 

tfcapacity. Am. to capacity =* 
Eng. to Us utmost capacity, /A large 




mass meeting was held with the large 
auditorium filled to capacity’ (D. L. 
Colvin, Prohibition in the U.S. 307). 
Other ellipses of a similar kind may 
often be met with. ‘ The closing years 
of the century found Columbia and 
N.Y. University crowded beyond 
capacity’ (Prof. A. M. Schlesinger, 
The Rise of the City, 215). ‘The 
village that once counted its houses 
by the dozen was built up towards 
capacity’ (H. Justin Smith, Chicago, 

One may even find capacity used as 
an adj. ^The Moth drew capacity 
audiences at one theatre’ (Diet. Am. 
Biog. vi. 480). 

captain is in Am. not only a military 
but a police rank and title. ‘When 
the leaders gave the command to 
march, the mounted police captain 
swung his men across the formation.’ 
‘I was strolling on the East Side with 
an elderly police captain’ (Upton 
Sinclair, Candid Reminiscences, 38). 
‘The city is usually divided into a 
number of precincts or districts for 
police administration, with a captain 
as chief commanding officer in each’ 
(C. C. Maxey, An Outline of Munici- 
pal Government, 162). 

The title of captain^ like that of 
colonel (q.v.), may also be acquired 
in Am. by appointment as a member 
of the pseudo-military staff which 
escorts a State Governor on certain 
formal occasions. ‘While Theodore 
Roosevelt was governor he appointed 
Mr. Goddard a staff aide, and it was 
from this commission that Mr. 
Goddard acquired the rank of a cap- 
tain. Although Captain Goddard 
was not really a military man, and 
the title which clung to him was some- 
what misleading, he was an organizer 
and a believer in discipline.’ 

fcaption. In Eng. the technical 
term for part of a certain legal in- 
strument. In Am. the heading of a 
newspaper article or of a chapter in 
a book; hence extended to mean 
almost any kind of title. Accordingly, 
when the film was invented, it was 

immediately adopted into the vocab. 
of the cinema. ‘Atlanta University 
has recently published an important 
study under the caption of “The 
Negro Church”.’ ‘Residents should 
carefully state in their entries under 
the captions “Descriptions of Arti- 
cles” and “Foreign Cost or Value” 
the articles obtained abroad, with the 
cost price of each article’ (U.S. 
Treasury notice). ‘In the Arena, I 
reviewed a novel by Bourget imder 
the caption etc.’ (Hajmlin Garland, 
Roadside Meetings, 199). ‘Under the 
head of business promotion may be 
placed the activities of the Federal 
Government in . . . Under this caption 
likewise belongs etc.’ (C. A. and W. 
Beard, The Am. Leviathan, 468). 
‘One marvels at the zeal for machines 
which inspires the caption sometimes 
seen in Russia: “The true God — the 
Machine”’ (Norman Thomas, Ameri- 
ca’s Way Out, 294). 

car. In the vocab. of Am. railways, 
car corresponds to the Eng. carriage 
or coach, and the cars is a common 
synon3nn for the train, ‘Were the 
type only more generous, so as to 
mvite reading in the cars, this would 
be almost an ideal publication.’ ‘I 
took the train for Gordon. I arrived 
there on Christmas Eve. I was the 
only passenger to leave the ears’ 
(C. H. Sternberg, Life of a Fossil 
Hunter, 207). Such compound terms 
as baggage-car, freight-car, and mail- 
car are also peculiar to Am. 

Am. street car = Eng. tram car, and 
Am. car fare = Eng. tram fare, ‘For 
the cost of a car fare up and down 
town a man can now buy one of the 
greatest books which the world has 
ever produced.’ ‘In Knoxville the 
street cars went like sleepy tortoises; 
they were pulled by mules’ (W. G. 
McAdoo, Crowded Years, 44). 

The cage of a lift is also called a car 
in Am. ‘The elevator man seemed 
to’ lose control of the elevator at the 
5th floor. The car made a sheer drop 
from the 4th story to the basement.* 

card may be used in Am. to denote 




a printed announcement on a per- 
sonal matter, not necessarily printed 
on pasteboard. ‘Hon. W. W. Os- 
borne gave out the following card 
to-day’ says an Atlanta newspaper, 
and there follows a statement of 
Mr. Osborne’s political views occupy- 
ing a column and a half. ‘Mr. Walter 
of the London Times has found it 
necessary to publish a card reminding 
his readers that the control of that 
newspaper etc.’ ‘Those gentlemen 
promptly published cards m the oil 
region papers repudiating the Cham- 
ber’s action’ (J. T. Flynn, God’s 
Gold, 209). An advt. inserted by 
Walter Hines Page in a newspaper 
when seeking a job is descnbed by 
his biographer as a card (Earlier Life 
and Letters of Walter H. Page, 129). 

For calling card^ see visit. 

cardinal is the name of a North 
Am. bird with fine red plumage and 
a crest on its head. Its scientific 
name is Cardinalis virgimanus, and it 
is described as an oscine passerine 
bird of the family Fringillidae. James 
Lane Allen derived the title of his 
novel, A Kentucky Cardinal, from 
this bird, and not from a Prince of 
the Church. ‘High on a branch a 
gorgeous cardinal sat triumphant.’ 
‘The jays and cardinals that came in 
the noon quiet.’ 

care. In Am. the expression take 
care of is used euphemistically in two 
senses. It may mean keep under, or 
even get rid of, remove, ‘Take all 
these elements of discontent and 
mould them into one, and put over 
them a daring leader, and you have 
a formidable foe which will give the 
conservative forces of the nation a 
big job to take care of it.’ ‘Elaborate 
and ingemous devices were proposed 
to take care of every conceivable 
obstacle to a final peaceful settle- 
ment’ (Ida M. Tarbell, Owen D. 
Young, 145). 

It may also mean provide for, look 
after the interests of. ‘The needless 
multiplication of oflSces to “take 
care of” political henchmen.’ ‘He 

found himself besieged with petitions 
for jobs by veterans who “looked 
upon the Governor as their only 
friend” ... It was impossible to take 
care of all of them, but he did Ms 
best as long as he held office’ (H. F. 
Pbingle, Theodore Roosevelt, 198). 
‘The older boys who are openly 
“bold and bad” are almost always 
secure m the conviction that, if one 
of them should get caught, he will 
not be severely dealt with, that local 
politicians to whom he and his family 
are attached will take care of him’ 
(Jane Addams, The Second 20 Years 
at Hull House, 314). ‘The financing 
of hog production has been taken 
care of by local banking institutions’ 
(Prof, E. S. Sparks, Agricultural 
Credit in U.S. 377). 

career. The Am. term career man 
means something entirely different 
from careerist. For a long period the 
U.S. was accustomed to appoint as 
its representatives abroad men who 
had hitherto spent their lives m Am. 
politics, business, legal practice, 
education, &c. After serving for a 
few years as ambassadors or ministers 
they returned to their previous oc- 
cupations. An attempt, however, is 
being made to create a professional 
diplomatic service, whose members 
shall make of it a lifelong career. 
These are accordingly known as career 
men. One may compare the French 
term, diplomate de carrUre. Thus, in 
the introductory chapter of his 
memoir of Henry White, Allan 
Nevins says of him: ‘He illustrated 
better than any other Am. of the time 
the possibilities of skilled service by 
a diplomatist of career. Indeed, he 
was our first eminent “career man” 
in the field, rising from the humblest 
posts in the profession to some of the 
highest.’ ‘Our greatest diplomatists 
have been, not “career” men, but 
Franklin in the Revolution, Jay at 
its end, Washburn and Charles 
Francis Adams in the Civil War, 
Page and Gerard, Whitlock and Mor- 
genthau in the last — all men of action 




with no department training’ (F. J. 
Stimson, My U.S. 875). 

Similarly career == professional in ‘I 
think the career professors look some- 
what askance at one who comes in 
from the outside world — just as 
career secretaries in diplomacy do 
upon a chief who has not gone through 
aU the grades, but who comes in 
fresh from big business or big politics’ 
(F. J. Stimson, My U.S. 190). 

carom. This billiards term, an 
abbrev. of caranibole, is now obs. in 
Eng., having been superseded by 
cannon^ but is still current in Am., 
both as a noun and as a verb. As in 
the case of cannon in Eng., its applica- 
tion IS not restricted to the game in 
connexion with which it originated. 
‘A well-dressed man caromed against 
me on his way to the elevator.’ 

carousal. ‘For the children there 
is a Ferns wheel, a carousal, a scenic 
railway, and a most wonderful shoot- 
ing gallery.’ In this example, cai ousal 
is far from denoting an orgy. It is, 
in fact, a quite different word from 
the Eng. carousal, which is of German 
origin and means a drinking bout, 
Tha is the French carrousel, which 
means a merry-go-round. Sometimes 
the confusion is avoided by the reten- 
tion of the French spelling. ‘The 
shrill blasts of the steam-organs of 
the carrousels’ (K. Bercovici, Man- 
hattan Side-Show, 258). 

carpet-bagger. In Eng. politics 
this is a somewhat contemptuous 
term for a Parliamentary candidate 
who is unknown to the electors before 
his candidature. The suggestion is 
that lus only stake in the constituency 
is the carpet-bag — a form of luggage, 
by the way, which has become practi- 
cally obsolete of late years — ^which he 
brings with him to his hotel. Being 
so lightly equipped, he may be sent 
by the party organizers to contest 
this seat or that as occasion may re- 
qxure. In Am. this type of politician 
is unknown, owing to the custom 
which forbids the candidature, either 

for Congress or for a State Legisla- 
ture, of any person not previously 
resident in the constituency. The 
term is applied, however, to those 
Republicans who went down from 
the North to seek office or political 
influence in the Southern States 
during the Reconstruction period, 
and the administrations dominated 
by these men are known as carpet- 
bag governments. ‘With the overthrow 
of the carpet-bag governments, the 
South began to shoot up into a new 
prosperity.’ ‘ In the South conditions 
[after the Civil War] developed as 
might have been expected. A dis- 
graceful horde of office and spoils 
seekers from the North, known as 
“carpet-baggers” swarmed over it. 
Combining with the riffraff of 
Southern whites, known as “scala- 
wags”, and the utterly ignorant 
negroes, they formed parties, elected 
the legislatures, and stole with the 
complete abandon of Boss Tweed and 
his gang in N.Y.’ (J. Truslow 
Adams, The Epic of Am. 286). 

Acc. to the dates of quotations in 
the O.E.D., the Am. use of the term 
preceded the Eng. 

carry, carrier. fAn Eng. shopper 
asks a tradesman if he keeps or sells 
such-and-such an article. An Am. 
shopper often asks if he carries it. ‘ The 
green^ocery is a sidewalk stand and 
very little else, and rarely does the 
vegetable dealer carry fruit also.’ 
‘One house in this city carries 1,200 
designs in picture post cards.’ ‘All 
sizes from 82 to 42 inches are carried 
in stock.’ Cf. handle. 

So, too, the contents of a newspaper 
or magazine are carried by it. ‘This 
number will be followed by a fiction 
issue for July. Each of the other 
summer and autumn numbers will 
also carry a special plan.’ ‘Our 
readers must have noticed that we 
are carrying a large amount of adver- 
tising for a magazine in its first year.’ 
‘The Times carried frantic editorials’ 
(L. Adamic, Dynamite, 209). ‘Re- 
ligious journals of all kinds carried an 




^kbundance of material showing this 
concern’ (Prof, L. J. Sheerill, 
Presbyterian Parochial Schools, 10). 
The term may even be applied to a 
book; e.g. ‘The New Testament, 
carrying the story of the life of Christ, 
naturally relates many of the in- 
stances’ (W. F. Dexter, Herbert 
Hoover and Am. Individualism, 31). 
In Eng. a carrier is a person or firm 
engaged in the conveyance of parcels, 
and thus corresponding to the Am. 
expressman or express agency. The 
Am. carrier is a postman, ‘He was 
a daily reader of the paper, and al- 
ways welcomed its delivery by the 
rural earner.’ 

carryall. In Eng. a sort of haver- 
sack, also known as a holdall^ in which 
a traveller may carry articles of an 
unwieldy shape that would make 
them inconvenient for packing in a 
bag. In Am., a carriage of a rather 
primitive type, used mainly in rural 
districts. ‘Once the Massachusetts 
Highway Commissioners chose to 
make their inspection tours about the 
State by means of a horse and carry- 
all.’ ‘An old carryall came shambling 
along the road; there were two people 
in it’ (Margaret Delanb, Dr. 
Lavendar’s People, 43). ‘A rough 
and dusty, rather hilly, road, two 
horses, and a huge, heavy, dignified 
“carryall” holding four people’ 
(K. D. WiGGiN, My Garden of Mem- 
ory, 5). The word in its Am. use is a 
corruption of carriole, 

casket. An Am, schoolgirl once 
wrote of the ‘funereal effect’ of the 
scene in The Merchant of Venice in 
which the suitors make their choice. 
So lugubrious an association would 
never have occurred to an Eng. girl, 
for she would have known caskets only 
as small boxes, used to contain jewels 
or other precious articles. In Am. the 
term commonly denotes coffins. 
‘When we stand by the side of the 
casket, and our thoughts go roaming 
out searchmgly after the loved one 
that is gone’ (Dr. C. H. Parkhurst, 
A Little Lower than the Angels, 264). 

‘When one of the gangsters is shot, 
they give him a funeral costing tens 
of thousands of dollars, burying him 
in a silver casket’ (L. Ajdamic, Dyna- 
mite, 359). ‘In the U.S. the old 
wedge shaped coffin has become 
obsolete; different styles and grades 
of caskets are available, ranging from 
a cheap cloth covered pine box to an 
expensive cast bronze sarcophagus’ 
(Encycl. Social Sci. vi. 527). 
Accordingly, Shakespeare provides 
for Americans a casket scene not only 
in The Merchant of Venice but also 
in Richard the Third. ‘Flavia played 
Lady Anne in the casket scene in 
“Richard the Third”, Dressed in the 
royal robes of that period, she stood 
on the stage before a real casket, an 
antique loaned by a local undertaker’ 
(L. N. Wright, Limbs of an Old 
Family Tree, 114). 

catalogue, in the terminology of 
Am. colleges and universities — Eng. 
calendar. ‘The year when Lowell’s 
name first appears as a professor in 
the Harvard catalogue’ (Dr. E. E. 
Hale, Lowell and his Friends, 170). 
‘The catalogues of many of our lead- 
ing universities now offer special 
courses in Dante’ (W. M. Payne, 
Editorial Echoes, 21). 

Hence the term is sometimes applied 
to a school prospectus or curriculum, 
‘Consider the disconsolate father as 
he sits before the fire with the cata- 
logues of 30 boys’ schools piled high 
before him.’ ‘Our schools are sacuy 
lacking in that they have excluded 
from their catalogues the study of 
Imagination’ (Dr. R. B. H. Bell, 
The Life Abundant, 169). 

cattleman. In Eng. a workman 
who attends to cattle, a drover. In 
Am. an owner of cattle, ‘I once went 
to interview a large landowner and 
wealthy cattleman from the far 
West’ (E. L. Banks, Autobiog. of a 
Newspaper Girl, 267). ‘Cattlemen, 
who were permitted to lease grazing 
rights from the tribes who owned 
them, occupied vast stretches of 
country’ (Prof. A. E. Martin, Hist, of 




U.S. ii. 283). Cf. cowman and sheep- 

caucus. This word has been bor- 
rowed by Eng. politicians from Am., 
but has suffered a radical change of 
meaning in the process. The main 
difference is that in Am. it denotes 
a specific type of meetings but in 
Eng. a specific type of organization, 
‘In the U.S. a caucus is a meeting by 
members of a party or faction for the 
purpose of choosing party leaders, 
formulating policy, or naming candi- 
dates for public office. It is a meeting 
of a small group within a larger 
group : of voters in local distncts, of 
representatives in municipal, county 
and state legislatures or in Congress, 
or of a corresponding group in a non- 
political organization. “Caucus” in 
Great Britain refers to the standing 
organization of a political party. It 
came into general use in 1878 when 
misapplied by Lord Beaconsfield to 
the Liberal Association of Birming- 
ham, but is now applied to controlling 
organizations of all parties’ (Encycl. 
Social Sci. iii. 277). Accordingly, 
Eng. caucus = Am. machine. 

The Eng. use is illustrated in this 
extract from a London paper: ‘If we 
may credit the N.Y. correspondent of 
the TimeSf that city is not governed 
by the elected municipality, but by 
Tammany Hall, a political caucus.’ 
Examples of the Am. use are; ‘The 
Dem. leaders in the Senate announce 
that they shall hold a caucus on the 
Wood case, and they expect to secure 
a two-thirds vote to stand solidly 
against confirmation.’ ‘Senators 
Lodge and Crane were unanimously 
nominated to represent Massachu- 
setts again, at a caucus of Rep. mem- 
bers of the Legislature to-day.’ 

The distinction between a caucus 
and a conference is thus expressed by 
a former Senator, G. W. Pepper (In 
the Senate, 26^. ‘Such meetings fof 
members of a party in the Senate] 
are either caucuses or mere confer- 
ences. If a caucus, it is understood 
that all who participate will subse- 

quently act on the floor of the Senate 
in accordance with the majority vote 
in the caucus. By the action of a 
conference nobody is bound.’ Hence 
Lincoln Steffens refers to ‘the caucus- 
bound members of a legislature’ (The 
Shame of the Cities, 10). ‘He said 
to the delegates that the meeting was 
not a caucus, but merely a conference 
for the exchange of views’ (W. G. 
McAdoo, Crowded Years, 145). 

centennial. In Am. centennial, 
bicentennial, &c., are preferred to 
centenary, bicentenary, &c,, which are 
more usual in Eng. ‘London cele- 
brated on the 1st. of August the cen- 
tennial of the opening for traffic of 
the present London Bridge,’ ‘Many 
particulars respecting his life and 
character have been brought out by 
the bicentennial of his death’ (S, W. 
Duffield, Eng. Hymns, 24). ‘The 
celebration, in 1930, of the fourth cen- 
tennial of the adoption of the Augs- 
burg Confession’ (H. P, Doxtghass, 
Church Umty Movements in the U.S. 

The name of the Centennial State is 
sometimes given to Colorado because 
it became a State in 1876, i.e. 100 
years after the Declaration of Inde- 

central* In the vocab. of the Am. 
telephone system, Central takes the 
place of the Eng, Exchange, ‘The 
telephone company was planning to 
install a “Central” in our village.’ 
‘In a moment the bell rang, signifying 
that connection had been made with 

fcerealhasbeenin Eng. abook-word, 
rarely to be found exc. in statistical 
articles in which various agricultural 
products are classified. In Am. it is 
in everyday use to denote porridge 
or similar fare served as part of a 
meal, esp, breakfast, ‘Patent cereals, 
competitive substitutes for the oat-» 
meal of sturdy Scots, were only a 
little while ago inevitable on any well- 
regulated breakfast table.’ Mrs. 
Rorer, in her Cook Book, advises^ 




that fruits should be served ‘with 
cereals or breads’. ‘To breakfast all 
alone was delicious; to stroll, un- 
hurried, to the sideboard and leisurely 
choose among the fresh cool fruits; to 
loiter over cream-jug and cereal’ 
(R. W. Chambers, The Fighting 
Chance, 145). 

certificate. In the vocab. of Am. 
education, the technical term for a 
document accepted by colleges from 
school authorities as qualifying a 
candidate for admission without 
further examination. ‘The lax en- 
forcement of published requirements 
for admission, together with the very 
general acceptance of certificates 
from uninspected and unvisited 
schools, has demoralized college stan- 
dards very generally.’ ‘Certificates 
accepted by leading colleges and West 
Point’ (School advt. in Who’s Who 
in Am.). 

A sitocf certificate is a piece of paper 
money issued by the Government and 
used as currency. ‘The Act of 1886 
had authorized the issue of silver 
certificates in smaller denominations 
than $10’ (Prof. T. J. Grayson, 
Leaders and Penods in Am. Finance, 
880). ‘How much money there is in 
any society depends not upon how 
many certificates called dollars are 
in existence, but upon how efiSciently 
those dollars are serving human 
needs’ (E. A. Filene, Successful 
Living in This Machine Age, 46). 

t chafing-dish once denoted in Eng. 
a kind of portable grate, or a vessel 
to hold fud — esp. burning charcoal — 
for heating anything set on it. The 
0,E.D, gives quotations ranging from 
1483 to 1825, the latest being from 
Scott’s Talisman^ where we read of 
‘a chafimg-dish filled with charcoal’. 
The^ modem meaning of the word is 
an importation from Am,, where it 
came to be used of a dish in which 
food can be cooked, or kept hot, after 
itisbmughttotable. A lamp fitted to 
the dish underneath, or an electric 
current, supplies the heat. ‘The 
chafing-dish in the hands of a highly 

trained cook is a practical toy, capa- 
ble, within limitations, of contributing 
to the gayety of life ; but in the han^ 
of an amateur it merely puts another 
burden of responsibility on the over- 
taxed digestive organs.’ ‘There was 
not a caterer, as at the first reception, 
but Ida herself cooked dainty messes 
in a silver chafing-dish, and the 
white-capped little maid passed 
things’ (Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, 
By the Light of the Soul, 93). 

chain. The chain-gang is part of the 

enal system of some of the Southern 

tates. The term denotes a group of 
prisoners who are set to work on the 
roads and are secured against escape 
by being chained. See ball. ‘Under 
this law, domestic servants have re- 
peatedly been sent to the chain-gang 
for alleged violation of contract.’ 
‘Cities are permitted to establish 
chain-gangs for the purpose of work- 
ing on streets, roads, and other public 
works, using therein any male person 
over 18 years of age serving a jail 
sentence or subject to imprisonment 
for failure to pay a fine for violation 
of city ordinances’ (F. W. Hoffer, 
D. M. Mann, and F. N. House, The 
Jails of Virginia, 138). ‘Even the 
chain gang sings to the clink of leg 
shackles as picks are swung deep into 
roadside ditches’ (J. Peterkin, Roll, 
Jordan, Roll, 116). 

For chain stores, see store. 

chair is often personified in Am. to 
mean chairman, ‘The chair was 
pounding and calling for order.’ ‘No 
one could be heard, nor any one 
listened to; so the chair sat down 
and ht a cigar’ (F, J. Stimson, My 
U.S. 133). ‘The presiding officer. 
Senator Keen, replied: “The Chair is 
not aware that there is any Senate 
Committee of that name”’ (Prof. 
N. W. Stephenson, IJfe of N. W. 
Aldnch, 187). The word is obs. in 
this sense in Eng. exc. in appeals of 
‘Chair I’ and in such phrases as 
•address the chair’ and ‘support the 

.The word is also technically used 




of the seat occupied by a witness — 
Eng. hox. Looking in one day at a 
meeting of a Senate Committee, I 
wished to know who was presiding, 
and accordingly asked my neighbour 
if he knew who was m the chair. In 
reply I was givfen the name of the 
witness then under examination. 
‘Hadley replied there was one place 
to answer questions and that was in 
the witness chair’ (J. T. Flynn, 
God’s Gold, 413). See stand. 

It may further be used, without 
qualification, of the electric chair m 
which criminals are placed for execu- 
tion. ‘The Batchelor-Leonard mur- 
der ease, where the quite evident 
effort to save the white principal by 
railroading the Negro agent to the 
chair was defeated’ (C. S. Johnson, 
The Negro in Am. Civilization, 371). 

How the last two senses may be 
confused is illustrated by an incident 
reported in the N.Y. Times of May 12, 
1904: ‘Vincenzo Calido came into the 
Court of General Sessions yesterday 
morning, pale and tremblmg with 
fear, because he had understood his 
counsel, Stephen J. O’Hare, to say 
that he must die in the electric chair. 
Lawyer O’Hare had said just before 
the adjournment of the court on the 
previous day: “You must take the 
chair.” The lawyer meant that Can- 
dido would have to go on the witness 
stand, but the Italian understood 
that he was to be executed im- 

A chair car in an Am. railway train 
is a car (for which higher fares are 
charged) in which passengers are ac- 
commodated in separate arm-chairs 
instead of the usual seats. ‘He had 
slunk into a day coach, fearing to go 
into the chair car lest he should meet 
some one he knew.’ 

chambermaid. In Shakespeare’s 
Twelfth Night Olivia’s woman, Maria, 
is introduced as her chambermaid. 
Modem Eng. usage, however, dis- 
tinguishes between a chambermaid, 
who serves in an inn or hotel, and a 
housemaid, who performs similar 

duties in a private house. In Am. 
chambermaid is used indiscriminately 
for both these servants. Hence such 
advertisements as ‘Lady going to 
Europe wishes to place second man 
and chambermaid’. ‘Wanted: a neat 
young girl as chambermaid and 
waitress in small private family.’ 
‘Rose was chambermaid as well as 
nurse’ (Gertrude Atherton, Ad- 
ventures of a Novelist, 32). See also 


fchance. In Eng. (1) a fortuitous 
event or (2) a probability, as distinct 
from a certainty. In Am. also a risk 
or hazard. Hence to take a chance 
(or chances), a common expression in 
Ajn., means something rather differ- 
ent from the Eng. expression take 
one^s chance. The Am. expression 
emphasizes the element of risk or 
danger, whereas the Eng. suggests 
notmng more than the uncertainty 
of the result. Thus, in a discussion of 
trolley accidents, one reads that ‘the 
companies connive at the taking of 
chances by their employees ‘A man 
takes chances on a parachute.’ ‘The 
stockholder can afford to take the 
chances because he is looking for 
large and dazzlmg returns.’ ‘The 
industrial pioneer — ^the man who 
starts enterprises, takes whatever 
chance they involve, and builds them 
up with his own brains and hands’ 
(H. Croly, Marcus Alonzo Hanna, 
79). ‘Lee took chances which a 
general would not dare to consider 
unless forced by dire necessity* 
(Prof. A. E. Martin, Hist, of U.S. 
i. 712). ‘Of course the President 
knew that he was taking a chance. 
Everything depended on the relative 
numbers of the two sorts of Demo- 
crats’ (Prof. N. W. Stephenson, 
Nelson W. Aldrich, 303). 

chancellor. In some Am. univer- 
sities, e.g. the University of N.Y., the 
active head bears this title, which 
accordingly does not denote the 
ceremonial head, as in Eng. 

In certain States, the term denotes a 
judge of the Court of Chancery. ‘On 



Feb. 24, 1814, he [James Kent] was 
appointed chancellor of the N.Y. 
court of Chancery’ (Diet. Am. Biog. 
X. 345). In New Jersey the chan- 
cellorship is virtually a chief justice- 
ship. ‘The judges of the State imme- 
diately combined to have one of their 
own number made chancellor — ^the 
highest judicial officer in New Jersey’ 
(J. Keeney, Political Education of 
Woodrow Wilson, 194), 

chaps. ‘Where are the cowboys in 
chaps who used to tend this corral? ’ 
In this quotation chaps has no con- 
nexion whatever, in either derivation 
or meaning, with the Eng. chaps* It 
is an abbreviation of a Mexican- 
Spanish word chaparajos, denoting 
overalls of sheepskin or leather worn 
by cowboys to protect them from the 
thorns of the chaparral, a thick en- 
tanglement of bushes. ‘His striking 
appearance in chaps and sombrero, 
which he wore indoors and out, made 
him the sensation of the season’ 
(Diet. Am. Biog. xii. 622). ‘They 
waved their hats and rode off, their 
heavy chaps flapping in the wind liice 
clipped wings’ (H. Cahill, in Life 
in the U.S. 91). 

chapter is the technical term for a 
local branch of a college Greek letter 
society, (See ‘The Universities’ in 
Bryce’s Am* Commonwealth.) ‘To 
this little circle somebody addressed 
himself who wanted to establish a 
chapter of Alpha Delta Phi in Cam- 
bridge’ (Dr. E. E. Hale, Lowell and 
his Friends, 26). ‘These friends 
gathered to form the first chapter of 
a Greek letter fraternity at our 
college’ (L. Lewisohn, Up Stream, 

charge. To charge that is a locution 
rare in Eng. but common in Am, In 
Eng. the verb requires a direct ac- 
cusative of the person or thing; e.g. 
one charges a man with an offence or 
charges an offence on a man. One 
would say ‘he brought the charge 
that , , rather than ‘he charged 
that . . ‘The other side charges 

that scores of its votes were thrown 
out by the election inspectors.’ ‘The 
Chicago grand jury returned an in- 
dictment which charged that the 
Chicago and Alton had given rebates’ 
(H. F. Pkingle, Theodore Roosevelt, 
420). ‘He charged that secret spies 
had gained admission’ (Makk Sulli- 
van, Our Times, iii. 493). In Eng. 
this would be alleged. 

In Am. a customer who secures the 
privilege of purchasing goods on credit 
with the understanding that he will 
pay for them at the end of the month 
IS said to have a charge account. ‘The 
proportion of returns on charge ac- 
counts IS much greater than on cash 
or C.O.D. sales.’ 

charter. In Am. the term charter 
member denotes an original or founda- 
tion member of an institution or 
society, whether it was formed by the 
grant of a charter or not. ‘The 
Amateur Dramatic Association, 
formed for acting Shakespearian 
plays, enrolled Kelh’’ as charter mem- 
ber’ (Dr. H. ZiNK, City Bosses in 
U.S. 115). ‘He was a charter member 
of the Am. Association of Economic 
Entomologists’ (Diet. Am. Biog. vi. 
510). See also sleep. 

check. Am. check = Eng. cheque. 
A certified check is defined by the 
Century Diet, as ‘a check which has 
been recognized by a competent 
officer of a bank as a valid appro- 
priation of the amount of money 
specified therein to the payee, and 
bearing the evidence of such recogni- 
tion’. According to Webster^ s Diet., 
it is ‘a check certified to be good by 
the bank upon which it is drawn by 
the si^ature of (usually) the cashier 
or paying teller with the word “good” 
or its equivalent across the face of 
the check’. ‘The certification’, adds 
Webster, ‘operates as a guarantee 
that the signature is genuine, that 
the bank has in its possession suffi- 
cient funds of the drawer to meet the 
check, and that it will hold enough 
thereof in readiness to meet the 
check; it also operates to release the 




drawer and the indorsers, if any. It 
does not guarantee the body of the 
check to be genmne.’ It must be 
remembered that the system of 
crossing cheques is unknown in Am,, 
and that an Am, bank teller will only 
cash cheques when the payee is per- 
sonally known to him or is satis- 
factorily identified. ‘A certified 
check on a National Bank payable to 
the order of the City Controller of the 
City of Pittsburgh, for 5 per cent, of 
the bonds bid for, must accompany 
each proposal’ (Advt.). ‘When the 
trial was over, the superintendent of 
the detectives handed the young 
fellow a certified check for $500, his 
share of the reward offered for the 
arrest and conviction of the safe- 

The term checking account is some- 
times used in Am. for banking account 
‘She preferred the more generous 
way, and they had a Joint checking 
account.’ ‘Checking accounts had 
been opened in a Philadelphia bank 
for Chandler’ (C, G. Bowers, The 
Tragic Era, 524). 

The use of check to denote a counter^ 
foil or tally t as well as that of the 
corresponding verb, is no longer 
peculiar to Am., but the compounds 
check-room and checking-room, de- 
noting a cloak-room or depository for 
left luggage, have not yet crossed the 
Atlantic. ‘The operator of check- 
rooms pays the highest sums for the 
privileges in those estabhshments 
where the greatest numbers of ban- 
quets and balls are held.’ ‘He arrived 
at the station carrying a small grip, 
and asked Charles where the cheeSng- 
room was.’ ‘The checking-room for 
8,000 wraps’ (E. F. Dakin, Mrs. 
Eddy, 378). 

When an Am. who has been staying 
at an hotel has settled his accoimt and 
handed to the hotel clerk the key of 
his room, he is said to check out 
‘Paid my bills and checked out of the 
Grand hotel’ (Dr. Franklin H. 
Martin, The Joy of Living, ii, 457). 
The expression has also a fig. use. 
‘President Coolidge might weU have 

appointed him Governor of the 
Federal Reserve Board when Cris- 
smger checked out’ (The Mirrors of 
Wall Street, 226). Here checked out — 

The verb check has also in Am. cer- 
tain uses that have nothing to do with 
travellmg by rail or sojourning at a 
hotel. It is a trans. verb, meaning 
keep check on, and an intrans., meaning 
tally. ‘The organization cheeks the 
ward and precinct of the official and 
keeps close track of who is back of 
him’ (Prof. C. E. Merriam, Chicago, 
29). ‘My figures cheek generally with 
those of other agencies’ (L. F. Carr, 
Am. Challenged, 21). Similarly check 
up is both trans. and intrans. ‘Mr. 
Schaffner said he would check up 
some of the alleged grievances that 
we transmitted to him, and on 
examination found conations of 
which he had not been aware and of 
which he did not approve' (Prof. C. E. 
Merriam, Chicago, 117). ‘What 
better enterion does the man at the 
breakfast table possess than that the 
newspaper version checks up with his 
own opinion?’ (W. Lippmann, Public 
Opinion, 829). This verb is often 
followed by on, ‘The grower did not 
relish a long and expensive trip to 
headquarters to check up on reports’ 
(C. A. and W. Beard, The Am. 
Leviathan, 542). ‘An inspector was 
usually sent out to check up on all 
the information, and, if everything 
was found satisfactory, the loan was 
made’ (Prof. E. S. Sparks, Agricul- 
tural Credit in XJ.S. 373). 

Hence the noun check-up. ‘A check- 
up on sermons taken on a random 
Sunday showed that 70 per cent, of 
them consisted merely of criticism 
and that only 30 per cent, attempted 
to lead constructively.’ ‘A check-up 
of the most important steel com- 
panies showed 4,164 Negroes* (S. D. 
Spero and A. L. Harris, The Black 
Worker, 354). Am. check-up com- 
mittee = Eng. auditing committee, 

A check list is a list used for reference 
or verification. ‘When the catalogue 
was announced it was hoped that it 




would be a distinctive contribution 
to bibliographical literature and a 
kind of monument to its subject. 
But this is a merely utilitarian pro- 
duction — ^little more than a check 

checker. In an Eng. village one 
may come across an inn called The 
ChequerSy or Checkers, sometimes with 
a sign reproducing the alternate black 
and white squares of a chessboard. 
This IS a reminder of the time when 
the game of chess was called checkers, 
and a chessboard was known as a 
checker-board* Checker-board is still a 
common name for such a board in 
Am., and one of the games played 
on it is called checkers — ^not chess, 
however, but draughts. ‘Checkers, 
another popular game, is played with- 
out any scientific pretence, and chess 
is not attempted at all.’ ‘Crossroad 
stores, where discussion is as constant 
a pastime as checkers’ (Prof. H. J. 
Ford, Woodrow Wilson, 85). ‘A vast 
checkerboard of cultivated fields.’ 
‘Fleets of barges lay upon the river 
like the black squares of some huge 

Hence checker-paned* ‘How those 
checker-paned windows bring back 
the pidure of that village green I 
The me ‘ting-house has them, lantern- 
like, and high, in three sashes’ 
(WiNfroN Churchill, Coniston, 3). 
The compound checkerberry denotes 
an Am. plant of the wintergreen class 
and also its fruit. ‘The introduction 
of peppermint and checkerberry 
essences has almost resulted in driving 
carraway seeds out of the pharma- 
copoeia of the family,’ ‘Picking 
checkerberries in his pasture.’ 

cheer. In Am. the compound cheer- 
leader is the recognized — one might 
almost say, official — ^term for a person 
who leads the organized cheering at 
an athletic contest. ‘The group on 
the dust-bui begins rousing the crowd 
with methods like those of a college 
cheer-leader’ (E. Wilson, The Am. 
Jitters, 39). The term is sometimes 
used fig. ‘On March 16th the inde- 

fatigable cheer-leader of the Presi- 
dential optimists, Julius H. 'Barnes, 
the head of Mr. Hoover’s new Na- 
tional Business Survey Conference, 
spoke as if trouble were already a 
thing of the past’ (F. L. Allen, Only 
Yesterday, 340). 

cherry. In Am. a cherrystone may 
be a wholesome and agreeable article 
of diet. ‘The clam which we know 
on the menu as cherrystone is a 
round, hard-shelled mollusk, techni- 
cally a quohog. The cherrystone is 
a Southern variety, and its name is 
a corruption of Cheritan, in Virginia’ 
(H. Ripperoer, in N.Y. Times Mag., 
July 22, 1934). 

chicken. The Eng. visitor to the 
U.S. needs to be warned, when he 
studies the menu at a restaurant, that 
in Am. chicken is sometimes loosely 
used in the sense of fowl* ‘Chickens, 
ducks, and turkeys have the run of 
the kitchen.* ‘ On a much larger num- 
ber of estates slaves cultivated their 
own vegetable gardens or kept their 
own chickens’ (Prof. C. S. Sydnor, 
Slavery in Mississippi, 98). Hence 
Am. chicken-yard = Eng. fowl-run* 

chicory. Though the dictionaries 
give no indication of any difference, 
one finds, in buying vegetables in an 
Am. market, that Eng, chicory =« 
Am. endive and Am. chicory == Eng. 
endive. The French chicorie similarly 
denotes the Eng. endive and the French 
endive the Eng. chicory. 

choice. The expression chx>ice of, 
meaning making much of, setting great 
store by, is now heard in Eng. only in 
certain dialects. An Am, example is 
found in Kate Douglas Wiggins* 
novel, Rebecca, where the heroine, 
fearing she has lost her trunk, says: 
‘It’s my mother’s trunk, and she’s 
very choice of it;’ i.e. she sets great 
store by it. 

chopper. In Am. the railway ser- 
vant who stands, as an inspector, by 
the receptacle into which passengers 
throw their tickets at the beginning or 




end of their journey by an elevated or 
underground railway. The term is 
also applied to the attendant who 
receives the tickets of patrons of 
theatres, ball parks, &c. ‘I asked 
policemen, ticket-sellers, and choppers 
if they had seen a lady in a gray dress 
with two valises pass through.’ ‘Mr. 
Dooley’ speaks of handing one’s 
ticket ‘to th’ chopper at th’ big gate’. 
‘In those days, as he tells us, it was 
his one particular and engrossing 
employment to do right, just as it is 
the one particular and engrossing 
employment of an elevated railway 
ticket-chopper to chop tickets, and 
Paul went about it in very much 
the same way that the chopper goes 
about it’ (Dr. C, H. Paekhubst, A 
Little Lower Than the Angels, 205). 

chorister is sometimes used in Am. 
in the sense not of member of a choir 
but of precentor, ‘Moody had en- 
gaged a young man, Ira D. Sankey, 
to be chorister in his church and 
Sunday school’ (W. R. Moody, Life 
of D. L. Moody, 141). 

chuck. The term chitck steak is used 
in Am., as in certain Eng. dial., to 
denote a cut of beef lying between 
the neck and the shoulder-blade. It 
is usually the cheapest meat in the 
market. ‘Chuck steaks 8 cents per 
pound at the Capital Meat Market’ 
(Advt.). ‘A bad cook will spoil a 
four-pound porterhouse, where a good 
one will take a chuck steak, make a 
few passes over it with seasonmg and 
fixings, and serve something that will 
line your insides with happiness’ 
(G. H. Lorimer, Old Gorgon Graham, 

The compound chvek-box denotes a 
box contaming food supplies for cow- 
boys, pioneers, &c, ‘A carpenter was 
then at work building chuck-boxes 
for each of the six commissaries’ 
(Andy Adams, The Outlet, 16). Such 
supplies are carried from place to 
place in chuck-wagons, ‘On reaching 
the supply point, there was a question 
if we could secure the simple staples 
needed. The drive that year had out- 

stripped all calculations, some half- 
dozen chuck-wagons being in waiting 
for the arrival of a freight outfit which 
was due that morning’ (op. cit. 56). 

church. The derivative adj. church- 
ly is rare in Eng. but frequent in Am. 
‘A lady who, being the parishioner of 
one of the brainiest preachers in the 
whole country, has had interesting 
churchly experiences.’ ‘The Calvary 
Church choir may be accepted hs 
representative of the worldly as well 
as the churchly side of the choir boy’s 
life.’ ‘He was an ecclesiastic who 
looked upon human life wholly from 
the restricted churchly point of view’ 
(Prof. L. O. Brastow, Representa- 
tive Modern Preachers, 252). ‘Indif- 
ferent to ecclesiastical forms or even 
churchly control’ (Prof. Barrett 
Wendell, The Temper of the 17th 
Century, 222). In these examples an 
Eng. writer would have used either 
church or ecclesiastical, 

circuit. Methodists all the world 
over use this word in the same spec, 
sense, but circuit rider is a term 
peculiar to Am. The name is given to 
a minister who, in the early days of 
Am. settlement, had charge of so large 
a circuit that he was constantly in the 
saddle. ‘Stout-hearted, downright, 
muscular, practical, the circuit-rider 
faced the actual world of the frontier, 
and saw it clearly.’ ‘In 1846 the 
Democrats gave him for a competitor 
the famous Methodist circuit-rider, 
Peter Cartwright, one of the best- 
known and beloved men of that 
period on the frontier. He was the 
highest type of itinerant preacher. 
For 60 years he travelled on horseback 
throughout the Western coimtry, 
manying the young people, baptizing 
their children, burying their dead, 
preaching by the wayside and in the 
forests’ (W. E. Curtis, The True 
Abraham Lincoln, 188). ‘There was 
no service sung or spoken over the 
dead, for the circuit-rider was then 
three months away’ (John Fox, Jr., 
Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come, 2). 

For circuit attorney, see attorney. 




circulate. In Am. circulate some- 
times = Eng. circularize, ‘Rhodes 
and Co. issued leaflets and pamphlets 
which circulated the offices of rail- 
roads and factories’ (T. Bker, 
Hanna, 78). 

In its intrans. use the word may be 
applied to the movement of persons 
as well as of things. Cf. French cfr- 
culer, ‘In order to counteract any 
unfavourable idea, I was advised to 
circulate as much as possible among 
the voters’ (Prof. C. E. Merriam, 
Chicago, 271). ‘I started off on foot 
with friends but soon lost them and 
circulated in the crowd by myself’ 
(Alice Roosevelt Longworth, 
Crowded Hours, 225). ‘ When the club 
met we children were allowed to be 
present, and to circulate among the 
grown-ups’ (Edith Wharton, A 
Backward Glance, 46). 

circumstance. Am. not a circum- 
stance to = Eng. nothing in com- 
parison with, ‘Undigested securities 
are not a circumstance to undigested 
political principles.’ ‘Hamlet without 
the ghost would not be a circumstance 
to it’ (Upton Sinclair, Money 
Writes, 87). ‘Zwingli’s troubles be- 
cause of the peasants were, however, 
not a circumstance to those caused 
by the Baptist party in Zurich’ 
(Prof, S. M. Jackson, Life of Zwingli, 

citizen. ‘When he speaks not like 
a citizen,’ says Menenius of Cono- 
lanus, ‘you find him like a soldier.’ 
In this sense, citizen has long been 
superseded in Eng. by civilian^ but 
the Shakespearian usage survives in 
Am., where the word is commonly 
employed, without any suggestion 
of the possession of the nghts of 
citizenship, to denote a private person 
as distinct from a member of a xmi- 
formed force. ‘Happily, in this city 
the situation has improved as between 
the citizen and the policeman.’ 
‘Several school teachers were cut off 
by the smoke and flame, but all were 
taken out in safety by citizens, 
pohcemen, and firemen.’ ‘At Browns- 

ville, negro soldiers rioted, killing and 
wounding several citizens’ (Mark 
Sullivan, Our Times, iii. 453). The 
difference of idiom is illustrated 
further in the colloq. term denoting 
the dress of an officer ofi duty. In 
Eng. this IS civvies, i.e. civilians’ dress, 
but in Am. cits, i.e, citizens’ dress. 
‘Later, they were joined by Major 
W. V. Judson, of the engineers, in 

Am. citizen is the term corresponding 
to British suhje(^. Americans are 
naturally annoyed when they see in 
an Eng. paper, as they frequently 
may, a reference to one of their com- 
patriots as ‘an Am. subject’. 

, citizen is also used in Am. as a 
synonym for resident, inhdbiianU 
‘The citizens of Nutley held a meeting 
last night for the purpose of discover- 
ing some means whereby the train 
service may be improved.’ This, too, 
is a survival of a sense now obs. in 
Eng.; e.g. ‘He joined himself to a 
citizen of that country’ (Luke xv. 
15, A.V.). 

citizens* committee is an alternative 
name for the vigilance committee which 
maintains order after a fashion in a 
new and imperfectly organized com- 
munity. ‘The British labor move- 
ment has no parallel in recent years 
to the mob violence of W. Virginia, 
Bisbee, Ariz., or Ludlow, Colorado. 
Lynch law and “citizens’ commit- 
tees” are practically unknown’ (P. 
Blanshard, Outline of British Labor 
Movement, 83). 

city. In Eng. a large and important 
town, or one that contains a cathedral. 
‘In the statistical publications of the 
U.S, government, a city is defined as 
an aggregation of 8,000 persons living 
in one territorial unit and under one 
local government’ (Prof, A. B. Hart, 
Actual Government, 181). Thus, 
H. N. Casson (Life of C. H. McCor- 
mick, 212) refers to ‘a sixty-car train 
travelling eastward with enough 
wheat in its rolling bins to give bread 
to a city of 10,000 for a year.’ Ac- 
cordingly, as the Am. city corresponds 




very nearly to the Eng. town^ Am. 
city hall = ’EtngAtmnhalL ‘Desperate 
men out of work have stormed city 
halls from coast to coast.’ ‘Much 
moral turpitude prevailed in a sur- 
prisingly large number of state 
capitals and city halls’ (Prof. A. E. 
Martin, Hist, of U.S. ii. 96). In 
N.Y. there is not only a dty hall but 
a town holL The latter is not, however, 
a municipal bmlding, but a privately 
owned hall used for lectures, &c. 

claim* ‘A citizen of a foreign 
country claiming to be imprisoned 
for some act committed with the 
sanction of his government’ (C, A. 
and W. Beard, The Am. Leviathan, 
121). What does this mean? Ace. 
to Eng. usage, its only possible mean- 
ing, though an incredible one, would 
be that the person mentioned de- 
mands imprisonment as his due. The 
context, however, shows that nothing 
of the Idnd is intended. The writers 
are speaking of occasions on which a 
Federal judge may issue a writ of 
habeas corpus. Among the occasions 
specified is when the prisoner on 
whose behalf the writ is desired is 
such a person as is described in the 
above quotation. That is to say, 
‘claiming to be imprisoned’ = ‘as- 
serting that he is imprisoned’. 

In Am, the verb claim has lost its 
distinctive meaning of demand as 
one^s due, having become a mere 
synonym for assert, state, ‘Buckle, in 
his ifistory of Civilization, claims 
that men and women are divided into 
three classes.’ ‘Plato claimed that, 
before his Republic could be estab- 
lished, the adult population must be 
killed off’ (Prof. H. W. Schneider, 
The Puritan Mind, 36). ‘The Apache 
did not eat turkeys, claiming that 
they were not good to eat as turkeys 
ate snakes’ (B. Davies, The Truth 
About Geronimo, 108). ‘All who 
were connected with these industries 
claimed that they would be ruined 
by any decrease in duties’ (Dr. J. H. 
Frederick, The Development of Am. 
Commerce, 178). 

Similarly the noun claim means, in 
Am., nothing more than assertion or 
contention, ‘Some difference of claims 
continues between the merchants and 
the functionaries in charge at the 
appraiser’s warehouse as to where the 
blame lies for such delays as have 
occurred.’ ‘Koeppmg killed Martini 
and afterwards made affidavit that 
Martini’s wife killed him and that he 
had assumed the homicide to save 
her. She failed to substantiate his 
claim.’ ‘The claim that Am. will 
never have a merchant marine unless 
it is privately owned and managed’ 
(W. Lippmann, Public Opinion, 122). 
A claim agent or claims agent is a 
person who undertakes professionally 
the cases of clients seeking compensa- 
tion or relief from Congress. ‘Claim 
agents and pension agents subscribe 
[to the Congressional Uecord] in order 
to foUow the course of private bills 
in which they are interested.’ 

class. ‘George von L. Meyer had 
been a class ahead of him at Harvard* 
(H. F. Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt, 
881). This does not mean, as an 
Eng. reader would suppose, that 
Meyer took higher honours than 
Roosevelt, but that he entered Har- 
vard a year in advance of him. The 
word class is a technical term at both 
Eng. and Am. universities, but with 
widely different meanings. In Eng, it 
denotes one of the divisions in which 
successful candidates are grouped at 
an examination, esp an examination 
for honours. In Am. the name is 
given to the whole body of students 
of any particular year in the normal 
four years’ course, (In his first year, 
a student is a member of the freshman 
class; in his second, of the sophomore 
class; in his third, of the junior class; 
and in his fourth, of the senior class). 
It bears the label of the year in which 
these students have completed (or 
will complete) their course. Thus the 
class of 193.5 at Harvard consists of 
the students who entered that uni- 
versity in 1931 and will graduate in 
1985. When it is said that A and B 




were in the same class at Oxford, what 
is meant is that they were placed in 
the same class (1st, 2nd, or 3rd) in 
the same honours examination (Lit. 
Hum., Mathematics, or whatever it 
may have been) in the same year. To 
say that A and B were in the same 
class at Harvard means simply that 
they entered in the same year and 
accordingly graduated in the same 
year. ‘Brown University began its 
140th year this week with an entering 
class of about 180.’ ‘Loyalty to class 
and to Yale are the first lessons of a 
fireshman.’ ‘The class of youngsters 
who entered Harvard College in 1856, 
when Lowell began his work there, 
graduated in I860’ (Dr. E. E. Hale, 
Lowell and his Friends, 180). ‘In 
Yale (class of 1896) he had played 
better than average football’ (Sin- 
clair Lewis, Dodsworth, 9). 

•\A common Am. locution is in the 
same class = of the same type, of the 
same rank* ‘That township school 
which hopes to pay its expenses with 
the product of an oil well in its front 
yard is merely endeavoring to get in 
the same class with the University 
of Chicago.’ ‘He would now and 
then select some one word or exi>res- 
sion to bear the opprobrium of cor- 
rupting the speech, while he employed 
without hesitation scores of others 
which were exactly in the same class, 
and therefore justly exposed to the 
same exception.’ 

The mail sent through the U.S. Post 
OflBlce is divided into classes. First- 
class matter consists of letters; second- 
class, of registered newspapers and 
periodicals; third-class, of miscel- 
laneous printed matter and merchan- 
dise not exceeding 8 oz. in weight; 
and fourth-class, of all other matter 
allowed to be sent by post, ‘In 
Chnstmas packages there are often 
inclosed brief notes, and the presence 
of such messages makes the matter 
first dass.’ ‘There is something 
anomalous in the power of life and 
death over periodical publications 
which is conferred upon the Third 
Assistant Postmaster-General in the 

decision of questions relating to 
second-class postage.’ ‘First-class 
mail is commonly supposed to afford 
a handsome surplus, while second- 
class rates eat up this surplus.’ 

The word class is not used in Am., 
as it is in Eng., to denote the different 
types of accommodation provided on 
the railways. These differences are 
indicated by other terms, which do 
not conflict with the popular theory 
that there are no class distinctions 
in Am. 

classify 9 classification, classified 
service. See first quotation. ‘The act 
of January 16, 1883, is the basis of 
the present Federal civil service . . , 
The act provides for the classification 
of clerks and other officers into four 
groups, according to their compensa- 
tion ; and hence all the persons subject 
to competitive examination are said 
to be in the classified service’ (Prof. 
A. B. Hart, Actual Government, 
290). ‘Country post offices are not 
embraced in the classified service.’ 
‘In the Senate, as in the House, I 
have done everything in my power 
for the reform of the civil service. 
In the present Congress I took part 
in bringing the census force within 
the classified service.’ 

For classification yard, see first quota- 
tion. ‘Into the classification yards 
long trains of freight cars are run; 
there they are broken up into smaller 
trains destined for the various termini 
of the road, a work requiring large 
forces of experienced trainmen and a 
highly perfected system in order to 
insure accuracy and promptness.’ 
‘The grading has about been com- 
pleted for the great classification 
yards of the Pennsylvania [Railroad],’ 
For classification club, see club, 

cleanse is often preferred in Am. 
where clean would be used in Eng. 
Thus, the department of a munici- 
pality that is responsible for the care 
of the streets is commonly known as 
a street-cleansing department. ‘Car- 
pet cleansing for 40 years’ (Advt.). 
‘Washwoman Demands Extra Dollar 




for Cleansing 344 Pieces in One Week’ 
(Newspaper headline). 

clear is often used in Am., but rarely 
in Eng. (exc. in dial.), in the sense of 
all the way, all the time, ‘One might 
chase coyotes from there clear into 
Texas.’ ‘Mr. Taft’s greetmg to the 
man he was so soon to succeed was : 
“Mr. President, even the elements 
protest.” “Mr. President-elect,” 
quickly rejoined Mr. Roosevelt, “I 
knew there would be a blizzard clear 
up to the minute I went out of office.” ’ 
‘We went clear on to the end’ (W. G. 
McAdoo, Crowded Years, 72). ‘He 
wrote one hymn which has been sung 
clear aroimd the globe’ (Dr. C. R. 
Bkown, They Were Giants, 220). 

clergyman. In Eng. usually a 
priest or deacon of the Church of Eng. 
In Am. a minister of any religious 
body. In Who^s Who in Am,, the pro- 
fession of Baptist, Congregationalist, 
Methodist, and other ministers is 
ordinarily given as clergyman. So, 
too, in the Diet, of Am, Biog, one 
finds many such entries as ‘Field, 
David Dudley, Congregational clergy- 
man’ and ‘Foster, George Burman, 
Baptist clergyman’. In his account 
of his own education Henry Adams 
refers everywhere to the IJnitarian 
ministers of Boston as the Unitarian 
clergy. The Bishop of the diocese of 
Western Massachusetts in the Pro- 
testant Episcopal Church is quoted 
(Churchman, Mar. 11, 1905) as 

speaking of ‘clergymen of your de- 
nomination’ in an address to Con- 
gregationalists. ‘He was ordained a 
clergyman of the Congregational 
Church’ (Mask Suixivan, Our Times, 
hi. 476). 

clerk. In Am. clerk denotes a shop 
assistani quite as often as a secretary or 
a person who keeps records or accounts, 
‘Many good books fail to sell because 
people are afraid the clerks will laugh 
at them for mispronouncing names.’ 
‘Wanted, grocery clerk to drive order 
team’ (Advt.). ‘These very features 
are to be found in the faces of bar- 

maids and ribbon clerks.’ ‘He walked 
across the country to New Salem and 
became a clerk in the store of Denton 
Offutt, measuring calico, weighing out 
sugar and nails, tending a grist-mill, 
and making himself useful to his em- 
ployer’ (W. E. Curtis, The True 
.Abraham Lincoln, 33). Hence the 
verb clerk in a corresponding sense. 
The late J. G. Cannon, Speaker of 
the House of Representatives, once 
said, referring to the days of his 
youth: ‘I clerked in a country store 
for 5 years. I had to get up, make 
the fire, sweep out, eat breakfest, and 
be ready for business by 6 o’clock.’ 

In Am. clerk is pronounced clurk, 
not dark, as in .Eng. 

‘He praised the village pavements, 
and he asked Tom Jones, the clerk. 
About the cost of doing them, and 
who had done the work.’ 

One day, the compiler of this dic- 
tionary, entering a Philadelphia 
hotel and wishing to engage a room, 
but not knowing at which of several 
desks the register was kept, went up 
to one of them and inquired whether 
it was the desk of the hotel clerk. 
‘No,’ was the reply; ‘this is the 
Hotel Lafayette.’ Having, in a 
thoughtless moment, pronounced the 
work clerk in the Eng. fashion, he had 
been supposed to be asking whether 
the hotel in which he found himself 
bore the name of the Hotel Clark. 

clip. In Am., as in some Eng. dial., 
the noim clip may mean rate of move^ 
ment, pace, speed. ‘A northwest gale 
was blowing at a 40-mile dip.’ 
‘Marer started up the drive at a fast 
clip.’ ‘He steps along at a pretty 
lively clip.’ 

The verb clip is commonly preferred 
to cut when one is referring to the 
use of scissors in takmg an ex- 
tract from a newspaper. Thus, Am. 
clipping bureau = Eng. press-cutting 
agency. ‘A suggestion that should 
be clipped and pasted for reference.’ 
‘He produced a clipping from a 
morning paper,’ ‘Col. Roosevelt sent 
me a number of these newspaper 




clippings’ (Jane Addams, The Second 
20 Years at Hull-House, 44). ‘A 
library where 800 newspapers are 
clipped and filed’ (Dr. A. Flexnee, 
Universities, 333). ^ ‘She shunned 
publicity and was said never to have 
subscribed to a clipping bureau nor 
preserved a press notice’ (Diet. Am. 
Biog. vi. 276). 

cloak-room. In the British Parlia- 
ment, the lobbies are the centres of 
gossip for members. In Congress, the 
cloak-rooms serve that purpose, lobby 
(q.v.) being used in Am. in a special 
sense. ‘This story, which has now 
got into circulation in the Senate 
cloak-rooms, is variously interpreted.’ 
‘Colleagues stop as they pass one’s 
chair to drop a summons to the cloak- 
room for consultation ’ (G. W. Pepper, 
In the Senate, 26). ‘It was discussed 
in the Senate cloak-rooms’ (D. 
Lawrence, The True Story of Wood- 
row Wilson, 289). ‘Their speakers 
for independence before the House 
and Senate committees were com- 
mended in the Congressional cloak- 
rooms’ (Sen. H. B. ECawes, Philippine 
Uncertainty, 39). 

close. In Eng. an election which is 
won by a narrow majority is described 
as a close contest. In Am. the adj. is 
transferred to a State or district 
(=Eng. constituency) where the 
rival parties are almost equally 
matched. ‘What that candidate’s 
record and opinions may be matters 
little, so long as he can demonstrate 
his capacity as a vote getter in the 
closer Northern States.’ ‘In the last 
Congressional election there were 
comparatively few close districts ; 
and, indeed, out of the 386 districts 
in the U.S., there were only 27 
wherein a member was returned with 
a majority of less than 1,000.’ A 
close district in Am. is thus something 
entirely different from the close 
borough which was one of the scandals 
of the Eng. Parliamentary system 
before the Reform Act of 1882. 
fAm. close call «= Eng. close shave 
(fig.), narrow escape, near thing. The 

brevity of the term makes it esp. 
convenient for headlines. ‘Close Call 
for French Ministry. Government 
Escapes Defeat by Four Votes.’ 
‘Close Call of Crowded Tram. Lacka- 
wanna Locomotive Tank Derailed on 
Verge of Twenty-foot Embankment.’ 
‘Harvard had a mighty close call on 
the gridiron this afternoon. The 
Carlisle Indians scored 11 points, 
while the Crimson scored 12.’ 

fThe verb close (trans. and intrans.) 
is often intensified in Am. by dorm, 
up, or out, all three of which have the 
same meaning in this connexion, in 
spite of the apparent contradiction 
between the first two. ‘ He has issued 
orders to temporarily close down all 
of the operations of the company.’ 
‘The works would close down on 
June 80th; all employees were to 
consider themselves ^scharged’ (B. J. 
Hendrick, Life of Andrew Carnegie, 
339). ‘The poolrooms are unlawful, 
and the District Attorney is bent on 
closing them up.’ ‘To close up the 
business of the Bank in 1836 would 
mean the calling in of a great mass 
of loans’ (Prof. A. E. Martin, Hist, 
of U.S. i. 407). ‘Two of the native 
papers were being threatened with 
being closed out.’ ‘The next month 
was spent in finally closing out the 
affairs of the Pacific Fur Co.’ (K. W. 
Porter, John Jacob Astor, 232). 

Am. closed season = Eng. close 
season. ‘It was the closed season for 

“f-There has been coined in Am. — 
probably at Hollywood — ^the noun 
close-up, which denotes a view taken 
at close quarters, an intimate view. 
‘We have the spectacle of at least 
one great industry which affords us 
a close-up of the ruthless sabotage 
of invention hurling its wooden shoe 
into the machinery of production.’ 
‘As editor of the Trenton Times I saw 
him start, and through all the years 
of his public life I got frequent close- 
ups ’ (J. Kerney, Political Education 
of Woodrow Wilson, xvi). ‘Pershing 
got [at Paris] a close-up of the intim- 
ate part European statesmen play in 




actually directing wars, as well as 
bringing them on’ (J. Keeney, op. 
cit. 424). 

club. The Am. term classification 
club denotes a club whose members 
are classified acc. to their occupations 
and derive their qualification for 
membership from the fact that they 
follow the occupation which they 
represent. ‘The Rotary Club of 
Chicago is the progenitor of all classi- 
fication clubs and organizations of its 
type, including Exchange, Kiwanis, 
Lions, Gyro, ^nta (Women’s), Co- 
operative, Civitan, etc.’ (Rotary? 49). 
The Am. country club is far from 
being an expression of the social 
activities of a rural community. It 
provides for city residents an oppor- 
tunity for outdoor sports and other 
relaxations within easy motoring dis- 
tance of their homes, ‘As house and 
apartments became smaller, the 
country club became the social center 
of the small city, the suburb, and the 
summer resort, and to its pretentious 
clubhouse, every Saturday night, 
drove men and women for the weekly 
dinner dance’ (F. L. Axlen, Only 
Yesterday, 110). ‘The wealthy fos- 
tered the growth of country clubs 
where, amidst the lovely verdure of 
hill and dale, such pleasures as polo 
and golf might be pursued under the 
best obtainable conditions. In the 
nineties country clubs could be found 
in well-to-do communities from Palm 
Beach to Puget Sound’ (Prof. A. M. 
ScHiESiNGER, The Rise of the City, 
316), Acc, to Prof. Schlesinger, the 
Brookline Country Club, founded in 
1882 near Boston, was apparently the 
first of these clubs. 

Acc, to the Concise Osrford Diet,, a 
sandwich consists of ‘two slices of 
bread with meat or other relish be- 
tween’. That definition would have 
to be modified to apply to the Am. 
club sandwich, which consists of 
several layers of bread and filling, so 
that it may constitute the greater 
portion of a substantial meal. It is 
eaten with a knife and fork. 

The term clubman is defined by the 
0,E,D, as a member of a club. The 
Century Diet, adds to this definition a 
second : one who prefers the life of clubs. 
The addition is significant. ‘He was 
not a professional reformer; he was 
ostensibly a club-man and man about 
town like another’ (A, Hodder, A 
Fight for the City, 12). That is to 
say, the Am. clubman is the male 
analogue of the Society woman. 

See CAMPAIGN, DUES, and initiation. 

coach . ‘ The coachers go to the halls 
where the shows are rehearsing, and 
instruct the singer and chorus in the 
necessary business.’ ‘You may walk 
the towpath [at Oxford] on a January 
afternoon, and you shall find coachers 
splashing through the mire and shout- 
ing their orders to the crews.’ These 
examples are taken from Am. news- 
papers dated 1904. Since then, 
coacher has been superseded by the 
Eng, coach. According, however, to 
the baseball glossary in the 14th 
edition of the Encycl, Britann,, 
coacher is still the technical term in 
Am. for a ‘man who may or may not 
be actively in game and, standing at 
comer of diamond, encourages team 
at bat.’ 

coal. In Am. bituminous coal is 
commonly known as soft coal and 
anthracite as hard coal, ‘Hard Coal 
Back at $6.25. The last monthly 
advance in the price of domestic sizes 
of anthracite coal goes into effect to- 
morrow, making the retail price 
$6.25.’ ‘A force always working 
against public cleanliness is the soft- 
coal smoke which defaces nearly all 
Western cities’ (Prof. A, B. EEart, 
Actual Government, 572). 

cockney. Acc. to the 0,E,D,, be- 
fore this word was used spec, of one 
bom in the city of London, it was 
‘a derisive appellation for a towns- 
man, as the type of effeminacy, in 
contrast to the hardier inhabitants 
of the country’. In this sense it is 
now obs. in Eng., but may occasion- 
ally be met with in Am. ‘Americans 




to-day are more interdependent than 
ever before in the history of the 
nation. The artificial life of the cities 
is proverbial. But now even many 
rural districts are as dependent on 
the beef packer, the vegetable canner, 
the milk condenser, and the anthra- 
cite mining company as the veriest 

co-education. This term is com- 
mon to Eng. and Am. Peculiar to 
Am,, however, is the abbreviation 
co-ed (or, more commonly, coed) 
meaning a girl student or girl pupil 
at a co-educational institution. The 
term is seldom used of a boy or young 
man attending such an institution, 
though logically it would be equally 
applicable to him, ‘Evidently the 
Oidord man does not have that 
yearnmg to go to class in a sweater 
which, m Am. colleges, is the cause 
of many a bitter petition to have the 
irksome presence of the coed done 
away with.’ ‘The Tufts College co- 
eds proclaimed their mdependence 
to-night by giving a big dance and 
shuttmg the men out completely.’ 

collect. In Am. a boy may call 
penodically at your house, saymg 
that he has come to collect for The 
Times* He is not seeking charitable 
donations, but has been sent by the 
newsagent who supplies you with 
your daily paper, in order to ask for 
what you owe him. Similarly, a 
telegram that is paid for when re- 
ceived instead of when sent is marked 
CoUect* ‘As far as practicable, the 
forecast messages will be telegraphed 
at the expense of the Weather 
Bureau; but, if this is impracticable, 
they will be furnished at the regular 
commercial rates and sent “collect”’ 
(World Almanac), Thus, C.O.D., 
which in Eng. is understood to mean 
Cash on Delivery^ means in Am. 
Collect on Delwery. 

In Eng. a collector is usually an 
official who collects taxes or rates. In 
Am. the name is given not only to 
an official of the Internal Hevenue 
Department but to a Customs official. 

‘In his earlier life he was Dist’nct 
Attorney and later Collector of the 
Port of N.Y.’ (M. Gouverneur, As 
I Remember, 44). Such an official is 
m charge of a collection district, ‘The 
coast of the ocean fronts and the 
Great Lakes is divided into 120 tariff 
collection districts; the interior and 
the coast together are divided into 
63 internal-revenue collection dis- 
tricts’ (Prof. A. B. Hart, Actual 
Government, 7). It may be noted 
that in certam provmces of India a 
collector is the chief admmistrative 
official of a district, where, although 
his spec, duty is the collection of 
revenue, he also exercises certam 
magisterial authority. 

colloquy is a technical term in the 
Am. Congress to denote the dialogue, 
or interchange of opinions, that takes 
place when a member, in the course 
of a speech, is interrupted by a fellow- 
member, and the two of them spend 
a few minutes in arguing with, and 
replying to, one another. ‘Near the 
close of the controversy. Senator 
Clarke rashly involved himself m a 
“colloquy” — ^the pompous senatorial 
term for informal discussion — ^which 
he opened by the rash device of 
quotmg Aldrich not quite fairly’ 
(Prof. N. W. Stephenson, Nelson W. 
Aldnch, 299). ‘In the colloquy 
which followed, Senator Smoot drew 
from Mr. Newlands the statement 
that he would apply such a leasmg 
law to all other mineral deposits as 
well as coal’ (A. B. Darling, Public 
Papers of Francis G Newlands, i, 
101). ‘He spoke extemporaneously, 
and at times engaged in colloquy, so 
that the affair was rather more of a 
free conference than a formal ad- 
dress’ (Prof, H. J. Ford, Woodrow 
Wilson, 44). 

colonel. This title may be acquired 
in Am. by appointment as a member 
of the staff of a State Governor, The 
mam duty it mvolves is that of riding 
in uniform in the procession at his 
mauguration and at other official 
functions. ‘He was appointed an 




aide-de-camp on the staff of Governor 
Da\dd B. HUl, and thus acquired the 
title of Colonel by which he still is 
popularly known.’ ‘A few weeks 
before his retirement from Trenton, 
Wilson, as a matter of compliment, 
had named the yoimger Birch as 
personal aide-de-camp on the gover- 
nor’s staff, giving him the title of 
colonel’ (J. iSebney, Political Educa- 
tion of Woodrow Wilson, 314). ‘It 
was Governor Hogg who provided 
House with the title of “Colonel”, by 
appomting him, entirely without the 
recipient’s suspicion, to his staff’ 
(Prof. C. Seymour, Intimate Papers 
of Col. House, 1 . 39). The mere offer 
of such a post appears to be considered 
an adequate justification for the use 
of the title. In its biography of 
Milton McRae, a prominent figure m 
the Am. newspaper world, the 
Am. Biog. says: ‘He refused a com- 
mission on the military staff of 
McKinley, when he was governor of 
Ohio, and was promptly dubbed 
“Colonel” by his newspaper col- 
leagues. The title thus bestowed 
clung to him and was proudly borne.’ 
Acc, to the same authonty, W. C. 
Goodloe, a Kentucky politician, 
‘never rose above the rank of captain, 
his title of “Colonel” being the 
honorary title qmte commonly be- 
stowed upon Kentuckians with and 
without military experience’. See 

also CAPTAIN. 

Col. House tells an amusing story 
of the embarrassment this title caused 
him when he was invited to Potsdam 
in June 1914. ‘I had cautioned 
Gerard [the U.S. Ambassador to 
Berlin] before coming to Berlin not 
to use the title of “Colonel” when 
referring to me or when introducing 
me after I arrived. This did not serve 
my purpose, for Bernstorff [the Ger- 
man Ambassador to Washin^on] had 
cabled of my coming, so I became 
“Colonel” immediately. Most of my 
time at luncheon was used in explain- 
ing to my neighbors the kind of 
Colonel I was — ^not a real one in the 
European sense, but, as we would say 

in Am,, a geographical one. My 
explanation finally reached Falken- 
hayn’s consciousness, but my neigh- 
bor from Saxony was hopelessly 
befuddled and continued until the 
last to discuss army technique’ (Inti- 
mate Papers of Col. House, i. 260). 

colony, colonial, &c. The word 
colonial has quite different associa- 
tions in Eng. and Am, In Am. it 
refers specifically to the period of Am. 
hist, before the Revolution, and is 
often spelt with a capital initial. 
‘Tallow candles will never be heard 
of again, except as a historic bit of 
Colonial economy.’ ‘On the front of 
the lot there will be erected a brick 
building of Colonial architecture.’ 
‘The atmosphere of education in 
which he lived was colonial, revolu- 
tionary, almost Cromwellian’ (The 
Education of Henry Adams, 7). ‘A 
carpenter may be able to make a 
splendid Colonial window or a beauti- 
fy Renaissance door’ (W. D. Or- 
cuTT, The Kingdom of Books, 59). 
‘The seats of chairs showed signs of 
wear. Some of them were of Colonial 
respectability’ (Dr. S. Weir Mitch- 
ell, Constance Trescot, 55). The 
word thus comes sometimes to be 
almost a synonym for antique. ‘Some- 
times we wonder whether personal re- 
miniscences will ever become colonial. 
Will people some day search for them 
as they do for old china and old books 
and old mahogany?’ 

The term Colonial DameSt however, 
does not denote the Pilgrim Mothers, 
but a society whose members trace 
their ancestry back to colonial days, 
‘The bill empowering the park com- 
missioner to grant to the Colonial 
Dames the custody of the Jumel 
mansion,’ ‘Your German doctor who 
has compassed sea and land with the 
zeal of a Pharisee for a proselyte or a 
Colonial Dame for a pedigree, to add 
some new fact to the mass of human 

ColonMism sometimes refers to this 
early period. ‘Through the southern 
part of Maryland to the Potomac, a 




region of old families, old prejudices, 
sleepy Colonialism, and the colored 
brother.’ More frequently it denotes 
the political doctrine which in Eng. 
goes by the name of Imperialism. 

‘ Colonialism has never really become 
a part of the Am. national scheme, 
despite all the talk of Mahan, White- 
law Reid, Theodore Roosevelt, Henry 
Cabot Lodge, and the lest of that 
noble company.’ ‘McKinley, Root, 
Roosevelt and Taft have aU at one 
time or another declared for eventual 
independence of the Philippines. 
Probably few Americans hope to see 
colonialism perpetuated.’ 

The word colony is sometimes used 
in Eng. to denote a group of foreign 
residents in a city; e.g. the French 
colony in Soho. In Am. this use of 
the word is considerably extended, as 
in the following examples: ‘The 
Reno divorce “ colony” is highly lucra- 
tive to the hotel-keepers.’ ‘ The diplo- 
matic colony will be well represented 
m Washington by the middle of 
October.’ ‘Disapproval and even in- 
dignation were expressed yesterday 
by members of the Ohio delegation 
in Congress , . . The news from 
Columbus created a profound stir in 
the Ohio colony, and not a single mem- 
ber of the House or Senate showed any 
sympathy with the movement.’ ‘Be- 
fore the [civil] war, many wealthy 
Southerners frequently spent their 
summers in the North. There was a 
considerable Charlestonian summer 
colony in Rhode Island at times’ 
(J. TausiiOW Adams, America’s 
Tragedy, 145). 

A mention of the votes cast by 
colonizers at an Am, election has 
nothing whatever to do with the 
politick choices made by immigrants. 
The persons referred to are men who 
— ^having possibly voted already in 
their own district — are imported into 
another district, where they make a 
false declaration of residence, in order 
to cast a ftaudulent vote there. ‘The 
attempt to colonize in the Third Ward 
by a faction of the Dem. party was 
frustrated to-day by the decision of 

Justice Howard to the effect that 25 
names were illegally enrolled,’ ‘The 
superintendent of elections is author- 
ity for the statement that there are 
gangs of colonizers and repeaters in 
the city.’ ‘Indianapolis, owing to its 
geographical position and transporta- 
tion facilities, is an easy city to 
colonize from Kentucky — ^not quite 
so easy as Cincinnati, but sufficiently 
inviting to the professional colonizer 
to make its reputable citizens un- 
comfortable as each successive elec- 
tion approaches.’ 

column. In the political vocab, of 
Am., column is used to denote the 
whole body of supporters of a certain 
party or candidate. In this sense it 
is probably an adaptation of the 
military use of the word. ‘If the 
Philippine bill should eventually be- 
come a law, and importations should 
interfere with the manufacture and 
sale of beet sugar, the resulting dis- 
satisfaction would be sufficient to 
throw Michigan into the Dem, 
column.* ‘On Nov. 8 Roosevelt won 
overwhelmingly. Even Missouri went 
into the Rep. column’ (H F. Pkingle 
Theodore Roosevelt, 356). In Eng. 
ranhs would be used in this sense. 

Am. has coined the word columnist 
to denote a journalist who contributes 
regularly to a newspaper a column of 
miscellaneous comment on men and 
things — ^the kind of contribution 
that in the Eng. press used to be 
called a causerie. ‘The cartoonists, 
the columnists, and the paragraphers, 
who strike out flashes of wholesome 
humor’ (Prof. E. Mims, Adventurous 
Am. 139), ‘Since 1891 he has been 
connected as reviewer, editorial writer 
and columnist with Philadelphia 
newspapers’ (Prof. J. M. Manly and 
E. Rickert, Contemporary Am. Lit, 

come. In reply to a knock at the 
door. Am. Cornel « Eng. Come ini 
Am, come by = Eng. call, look in. 
‘It was delightful to have him come 
by after church and take me off to 
his parsonage for Sunday dinner,’ 




fThe Am. expression come to stay = 
Eng. become a regular thing, attain a 
permanent standing. ‘The national 
convention came to stay in Am. 
politics 72 years ago.’ ‘ It was evident 
that Am. had at last produced a 
novelist who had come to stay’ 
( W. M. Payne, Editorial Echoes, 107). 

Am. come out = Eng. turn out, come 
off. ‘They avoid those controversies 
over exact facts m which he has in- 
variably come out second-best.’ ‘The 
five editors had the further privilege 
of assuming the whole pecumary 
responsibility for the undertaking. 
How this came out I do not know’ 
(Dr. E. E. Hale, Lowell and his 
Friends, 30). 

In Am. the compound come-outer 
has been invented to denote a re- 
former who is so dissatisfied with the 
slow pace of the body — whether 
religious, political, or what not — ^to 
which he belongs that he comes out 
of it to form a more progressive 
group. ‘Dr. Holmes was rather a 
believer in existing institutions than 
a come-outer.’ ‘The Kep. party was 
all the while stolidly implacable to- 
wards its come-outers for conscience’ 
sake.’ ‘Storey’s family associations 
were neither with the fashionable 
world nor with the more extreme 
“come-outers”, though there were 
contacts with both’ (M. A. de W. 
Howe, Portrait of an Independent, 
80). Hence also come-outism, ‘He 
was also opposed to the extreme re- 
formers such as Garrison who advo- 
cated “Come-Outism” to church 
members’ (Diet. Am. Biog. xiii. 22). 

tfThe Am. term come-back denotes 
a return to a position once lost, esp. 
in politics. ‘The spectacular come- 
back which placed “Big Bill” for a 
third term in the office of mayor of 
Chicago’ (Dr. H. Zink, City Bosses 
in U.S., 289). ‘Bryan, after two de- 
feats at the polls and a merciless 
snubbing in the party convention at 
St. Louis, was making bis comeback’ 
(Willis J. Abbot, Watching the 
World Go By, 261). ‘The same sort 
of strain breaks down practically 

every man who goes into public life 
and attempts to meet its impossible 
demands. Yet men like that have a 
come-back like cork’ (Julia B. 
Foraker, I Would Live it Again, 98). 

fAm. come-down = Eng. descent. 
‘The General Board plan is a gradual 
come-down from the programme 
which Congress indicated’ (C. P. 
Howland, Survey of Am. Foreign 
Relations, 1931, 400). 

comfort, comfortable, comforter. 
Am. public comfort station = Eng. 
public convenience. Similarly, comfort 
room. ‘The excavation for the public 
comfort station in Chatham Square.’ 
‘He continued his progress through 
the park. He passed comfort stations, 
hothouses, reservoirs, playgrounds, 
etc.’ (R. Nathan, One More Spring, 
44). ‘The rear houses seem unfit for 
human habitation, with their peeling 
walls and rickety stairs, and none of 
the modern accommodations. Even 
the comfort rooms are downstairs, as 
well as the water’ (K. Beecovici, 
Around the World in N.Y. 53). 

The Eng. comforter is a long woollen 
scarf. The Am. comforter or comfort- 
able is a wadded quilt. ‘This hand- 
made wool-filled chintz comforter was 
esp. designed for a summer bedroom, 
as there are always occasional nights 
during the summer months when 
additional covering is needed, and 
such a comforter, covered with 
brightly colored small-patterned 
chmtz, is vastly more decorative than 
an extra blanket’ (Advt,). ‘He swung 
his thick legs over the edge of his 
lilac satin comforter^ (Sinclair 
Lewis, Dodsworth, 16). ‘She did not 
get into bed, but took a silk com- 
fortable off and wrapped it around 
her’ (M. E. Wilkins Freeman, By 
the Light of the Soul, 437), ‘A big 
bed is piled high with patchwork 
comfortables’ (E. Hilts, in Life in 
the U.S. 118). 

commencement. At Cambridge 
and Dublin the annual ceremony at 
which honorary degrees are conferred 
is called the commencement. The term 




IS used in Am. to denote the annual 
degree day at a college or university, 
and also the school ceremony which 
corresponds to the Eng. speech-day. 
‘June, the month of brides and com- 
mencements, is here. Preparations 
for the approaching commencement 
season are being made by the schools 
and colleges.’ ‘For the younger girls, 
commencement frocks are made 
short.’ ‘He got away to the Harvard 
commencement, where a gold medal 
was presented to President Eliot by 
the alumm’ (E. S. Martin, Life of 
J. H. Choate, i. 460). 

commissary is a term used in Am. 
to-day, as formerly in Eng., to denote 
an of&cer responsible for the supply 
of food to a number of persons, esp. 
soldiers. In Am. it may also be ap- 
plied to the provisions themselves and 
to the office from which they are 
distributed. ‘I argued that a wagon- 
way could be easily cut m the bank 
and the commissaries lowered to the 
river’s edge with a rope to the rear 
axle’ (Andy Adams, The Outlet, 243). 
‘Vacated garages, stores and halls 
>ave been utilized as local relief head- 
quarters and commissaries . , . The 
erstwhile showroom is a commissary.’ 
‘Sales at the plantation commissary 
are interesting’ (G. M. Neely, in 
pfeintheU.S. 224). 

common. The use of this word in 
the sense of generally accessible, 
affable, sympathetic is now obs. in 
Eng. The quotations given in the 
O.E.U. range from 1382 to 1609. 
The latest is from the Douay Bible: 
‘I trust that he wil deale modestly 
and gently . . . and that he wil be 
common unto you.* This meaning is 
still retained in some parts of the 
U.S. Cecil Sharp, as reported in his 
biog. (p. 175), considered that the 
greatest compliment ever paid him 
was the farewell remark of a singer 
in the Appalachians to himself and 
his companion: ‘My husband and I 
are sorry you are going. We like you 
both— you are so nice and common.’ 
For common stock, see stock. 

commonwealth. We speak of ‘the 
Commonwealth of Australia’. It was 
in this sense that Lord Bryce used 
the word when he entitled his great 
book The American Commonwealth. 
But this is not the Am, sense. In Am. 
the term is applied to any of the 
several States individually, not to the 
whole country as a federated unit. 
Officially, its use is restricted to the 
States of Massachusetts, Pennsyl- 
vania, Virginia, and Kentucky. ‘The 
ancient, elaborate and impressive 
ceremony which culminates in Col. 
Olin’s sonorous and solemn appeal: 
“God save the commonwealth of 
Massachusetts”.’ ‘Such freedom as 
exists to-day among the 48 separate 
commonwealths of the Am. Union.’ 
‘There may be some ground to appre- 
hend that in the U.S. the cities and 
federal government are increasing m 
importance more rapidly than our 
commonwealths’ (Prof. R. T. Ely, 
Evolution of Industrial Society, 328), 
‘An Act was passed for the purpose 
of “increasing the banking capital of 
this Commonwealth”. This Act 
established at Norfolk the Exchange 
Bank of Virginia’ (G. T. Starner, 
60 Years of Branch Banking in 
Virginia, 84). 

community. In Am. this word, in 
the sense of a body of persons living 
in the same locality, goes to form 
several spec, terms. A community 
center ‘may be defined as a meeting 
place where people living near by 
come together to participate in social, 
recreational and cultural activities 
and build up a democratic organiza- 
tion that will minister to the needs of 
the community’ (Encycl, Soc. Sci. 
iv. 105). A community chest is a fund 
in which the charitable donations of a 
community are co-ordinated. ‘Finan- 
cial federations known as community 
chests have become a widely ac- 
cepted means of unifying the social 
service activities of a city. The com- 
munity chest was at first looked upon 
as a dangerous innovation that might 
centralize control in the hands of a 




few people or enable financial interests 
to dominate social service policies. 
Present experience indicates that 
these fears were unfounded’ (op. cit. 
107). A community church is a church 
composed of members of various de- 
nominations who unite in a single organ- 
ization instead of groupmg them- 
selves in several separate churches. 
The charitable and philanthropic 
activities of a club or similar organiza- 
tion are described as its community 
service^ The term community sxnging^ 
which originated in Am,, is now 
familiar in Eng. 

commute. In Eng. commuting or 
commutation may mean (1) the chang- 
ing of a penal sentence for one that 
is less severe, (2) the buying off of 
a recurrent obligation by the payment 
of a lump sum, as in the ease of 
annuities, or (3) the changing of an 
obligation in kind into an obligation 
in money, as in the case of tithes. 
In Am. the term is most frequently 
applied to the commuting of one’s 
railway fares by taking a commutation 
ticket = Eng. season ticket. Commut- 
ing thus comes to mean travelling 
regularly by train, ferry, bus, «&c., 
between home and office. ‘A large 
number of Wall Street folk commute 
by the Erie.’ ‘ The maids of Montclair 
presented their claims for considera- 
tion in the matter of the dinner hour. 
Commuting has made 7 o’clock dinner 
the custom in suburban districts.’ 
‘Mr. Wilson continued to live in 
Princeton, commuting every morning 
the twelve miles between his home 
and his office’ (D. Lawrence, True 
Story of Woodrow Wilson, 88). The 
word has been extended to mean 
frequent travel to and fro, over dis- 
tances so great that the issue of a 
season ticket would be out of the 
question. Thus Lincoln Steffens 
(Autobiog. 702 and 741) says: ‘Be- 
tween tnps to the Pacific coast I was 
commuting to and from Europe’ and 
‘I spent the first two years of the war 
commuting between Washington and 
Mexico, Cuba, and Porto Rico.’ 

commuter is naturally used in a 
corresponding sense. ‘There were 
several fights between the railroad 
men and angry commuters.’ In The 
Light of the Soul Mary E. Wilkins 
Freeman says of one of her characters 
that ‘he was so tired of seeing the 
same train, the same commuters, 
taking the same path across the sta- 
tion to the ferry-boat’. ‘Running with 
the ungainly fierceness of a commuter 
slogging for a train’ (Christopher 
Morley, John Mistletoe, 62). 

company. In Am. the term com- 
pany union denotes a tmion ‘in- 
stigated and practically dominated 
by the employers, organized and 
conducted for the purpose of com- 
bating or displacing independent 
uniomsm’ (R. F. Hoxie, Trade 
Unionism in U.S. 51). ‘British em- 
ployers do not use the term collective 
bargaining to mean dealmg with 
“company umons” or employees’ 
organizations set up by the employers 
themselves. There are virtually no 
“company unions” in Great Britain 
exc. the organizations of foremen and 
supervisors’ (P. Blanshabd, Outline 
of British Labor Movement, 49). ‘ The 
employers sought to organize the 
workers into harmless company 
unions controlled from the main 
office’ (L. Adamic, Dynamite, 

‘The terms company union and em- 
ployee representation are often used 
interchangeably, esp. in the U.S., 
where trade unionists commonly 
refer to any shop committee, works 
council or industrial assembly estab- 
lished without the assistance of trade 
unions as a company union. In recent 
literature, however, company union 
has come to designate a special foim 
of employee representation which not 
only seeks to become a substitute for 
the trade union but also uses the 
methods and the forms of organiza- 
tion of the trade xmions. It is usually 
an employers’ association withm a 
plant making collective bargaining 
contracts with the employer’ (Encycl. 
Soo. Sci, iv. 123). 




compensation5 compensate* In 
Am. compensation sometimes ^salary, 
payment for services renderedf without 
any suggestion of making amends for 
loss or damage. This sense of the word 
goes back at least to 1787, when the 
Constitution of the U.S, provided 
that Senators and Representatives 
should receive *a compensation for 
their services, to be ascertained by- 
law, and paid out of the Treasury’. 
Senator William Maclay, in an entry 
in his journal dated Aug. 25, 1789, 
speaks of moving a ‘compensation 
bill’ fixing the ‘wages’ to be paid 
members of Congress. The following 
are modem examples: ‘The Filipino 
teachers will naturally be able to 
accept a much less compensation than 
the Am. teachers.’ ‘The compensa- 
tion of judges is commonly much 
less than the ordinary professional 
income of good lawyers’ (Prof. A. B. 
Hart, Actual Government, 153). 
‘In 1860 the compensation of the 
former [the skilled labourer] ranged 
from $1 to $2 a day and that of the 
latter [the unskilled] was about half 
as much’ (Prof. A. E. Martin, Hist, 
of U.S. i. 517). 

Similarly to compensate == to pay 
for services, ‘A campaign against the 
fee system in compensating public 
officers.’ ‘Members of city councils 
are almost invariably compensated 
for their services’ (C. C. Maxey, 
Outline of Municipal Government, 

In its normal sense compensate is 
often used in Am. without the for 
with which it would usually be fol- 
lowed in Eng, ‘The increased cost of 
living could be compensated by pro- 
tective duties.’ ‘It is only a few of 
these words which have excited much 
feeling, but the smallness of the num- 
ber has been compensated by the 
acrimony displayed’ (Prof. T. R. 
Loiinsbury, Standard of Pronuncia- 
tion in English, 129). 

complected is a term afiected by 
Carlyle, who used it in the sense of 
mteneooen, complicated. In Am,, as 

a coUoq, term, it = Eng. complex^ 
ixmed. A character in K. D. Wiggm’s 
Rebecca is represented as saying: 
‘Lorenzo was dark complected, you 
remember.’ ‘The general manager 
remarked to his superintendent of 
machinery: “Joe, did you notice that 
dark-complected man with glasses?”’ 

( J. K. Winkler, Life of J. Pierpont 
Morgan, 198). 

composition. What is called an 
exercise book in Eng. schools is known 
as a composition book in Am. 

concede is often used in Am. where 
admit or recognize would be preferred 
in Eng. ‘The conceded desirability 
of having Presidential inaugurations 
take place in warmer weather.’ ‘It 
will readily be conceded that private 
contract must not stand above public 
policy’ (Prof. R. T. Ely, Evolution 
of Industrial Society, 419). ‘The 
project did not look attractive to 
private capital, and it was generally 
conceded that such a road could be 
built only with government aid’ 
(G. T. Clark, Leland Stanford, 164). 
‘Most well-informed observers, while 
they conceded the personal popularity 
of Roosevelt, believed that the ladk 
of an established organization would 
prevent his election’ (Prof. C. Sey- 
mour, Intimate Papers of Col. 
House, i. 70). 

Hence Am. concededly = Eng. ad- 
mittedly. ‘The Rollin sisters were 
concededly pretty’ (C. G. Bowers, 
The Tragic Era, 351), 

conclude, in the sense of decide 
finally^ has a classical Eng. example in 
the A.V. of Acts, xxi. 25 : ‘ As touch- 
ing the Gentiles which believe, we 
have written and concluded that they 
observe no such thing,’ Nowadays it 
is rare in Eng., but not unusual in 
Am. E. S. Martin’s biog. of J. H. 
Choate gives three examples, at least, 
firom his letters : ‘ I see that the Senate 
Foreign Relations Committee has 
concluded to drop the Hay-Paunce- 
fote Treaty’ (ii. 126); ‘I am veiy 
sorry that you and Mary did not 




conclude to cross the ocean this sum- 
mer’ (ii. 146); ‘I am beset by an 
overwhelming number of invitations, 
but I have concluded to make only 
two “positively last appearances’” 
(ii. 273). ‘We knew that they must 
have seen us, and concluded to stay 
where we were imtil we could make 
them out’ (C. H. Sternberg, Life 
of a Fossil Hunter, 197). ‘I con- 
cluded to take his advice’ (G. Ather- 
ton, Adventures of a Novelist, 398). 

concourse is a spec, term in the 
vocab. of Am. railways. It denotes 
the large open space, or main hall, in 
the centre of a station of the modem 
type. Around it, or arotmd its ap- 
proaches, may be found the ticket 
offices, refreslunent rooms, shops, &c. 
In a newspaper description of a new 
terminus in N. Y. we read that ‘ parallel 
to and connecting with the main wait- 
ing room by a wide passageway be- 
tween the subsidiary waiting rooms is 
the concourse, a covered assembling 
place over 100 feet wide, extending 
the entire width of the station and 
under the adjoining streets. Two sets 
of stairs descend from it to each of 
the train platforms on the track level.’ 

condition. In Am. a student who 
fails to pass an examination in all 
the necessary subjects is sometimes 
allowed to proceed to the next 
academic stage on condition that he 
makes up these deficiencies within a 
certam time. The omitted subjects 
are then technically called conditions^ 
which the student has to work off, 
‘Examinations interfered materially 
with the progress of Columbia’s foot- 
ball practice yesterday. Many of the 
new candidates are takmg examina- 
tions for entrance to the university, 
and several of the older students are 
working off conditions.’ ‘Through 
the intervention of a faculty member 
he was permitted to enter with an 
unorthodox number of conditions.’ 
‘She passed in only two subjects, but 
went cheerfully into the preparatory 
department with her five conditions’ 
(K. D. WiGGiN, Rebecca, 213). 

Hence the verb condition, ‘I went 
to Baltimore in 1884, conditioned 
in Greek and mathematics and weak 
in Latin.’ ‘Their author had no in- 
tention of making a literary career 
when, a conditioned sub-freshman, 
he entered Bowdoin College with the 
class of 1871’ (Diet. Am. Biog. xiii. 

conductor is the common term in 
Eng. for an official who looks after 
passengers in a bus or tram-car. In 
Am. it is also used of the railway 
official who in an Eng. passenger 
train is called a guard. In the case of 
a freight train, the Am. hrakeman or 
trainsman corresponds to the Eng. 

confederacy, confederate. In Am. 
these terms are rarely used in their 
general sense, being restricted to a 
specific meaning ansing from the 
Civil War. The word Confederacy 
denotes the league of eleven States — 
S. Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, 
Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, 
Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and 
N. Carolina — ^which seceded from the 
Union. The adj. Confederate is applied 
to the States which were members of 
that league, the troops which fought 
on their side, &c. ‘These nvers 
were natural roadways into the Con- 
federacy, and it was an important 
step when Grant captured the forts.’ 
‘A tall, erect, slight, courtly man with 
the slouched hat that spoke the Con- 
federate veteran.’ ‘A superior court 
had reversed the conviction of a man 
who had passed Confederate money’ 
(H. F. PRINGI 4 E, Theodore Roosevelt, 

confidence. Am. confidence game = 
Eng. confidence trick, ‘S. A. Potter 
was arrested to-day on a charge of 
operating a confidence game. Potter 
and two companions are said to have 
netted $1,500,000 m the past few 
years by the operation of their 
schemes.’ The term is sometimes 
abbreviated to con game^ and a 
practitioner of the trick may be caUed 




a con man, ‘Two sailors said he 
worked the con game on them Satur- 
day morning. They gave him $23 in 
good money for a $50 counterfeit 
bill.’ ‘He has a police record and is 
said to be a con man.’ 

consent. The Am. consent decree 
corresponds to the Eng. agreed ver- 
dict ‘A suit was brought in one of the 
U.S. courts which ended in what is 
known as a “consent decree”, by 
which is meant a decree to which 
both sides assented’ (Prof. T. J. 
Grayson, Leaders and Periods of 
Am, Finance, 395). ‘A consent decree 
signed in the U.S. Distnct Court at 
Wilmington provides for the dis- 
tribution over certain specified periods 
of all Radio Corporation of Am. 
stocks owned by the General Electric 
and Westinghouse Electric and Manu- 
facturing Compames’ (World Aim. 
for 1933, 122). 

ttconservative. In his Diet of 
Modern Eng, Usage, H. W. Fowler 
describes as ‘perhaps the most 
ridu nlru- (,<’Slir.'hod r'-den-ions’ the 
‘ra|).*:l\ -n'l.nimi.' u-*( o'* Ihi^ word 
as J'li opisl'C i ir» Ih*' m i*-'* o.' n»)'’erate, 
safe, or low, with estimates, figure, etc.’. 
A similar protest was made by the 
late Sir E. T. Cook (More Literary 
Recreations, 248), who speculated as 
to the origin of this misuse of the 
word, and wondered whether it was 
‘the subtle invention of some poli- 
tician, designed to wipe out the 
Gladstonian charges against the 
Conservatives, and connected with 
the term “Moderate” by which Con- 
servatives called themselves in London 
politics’. Actually it is an importa- 
tion from Am., where it became 
current long ago. Thus, in his 
Evolution of Industrial Society, pub- 
lished in 1903, Prof. R. T, Ely says 
(p. 204) that ‘Lecky’s History of 
European Morals gives a conservative 
statement of the ethical consequences 
of luxury’. ‘The visitors were spend- 
ing on the island the enormous total 
of $1,500,000 a day, and this is a 
conservative estimate’ (N.Y. Tri- 

bune, Sept. 6, 1903). When the 
N.Y, Sun of Sept. 5, 1904, says that 
‘this and the 15th are the only two 
Congress districts which conservative 
minded Republicans think their party 
will be able to carry next November’, 
it does not mean Republicans of 
conservative views but Republicans 
who do not hold extravagant ex- 
pectations of the electoral chances of 
their party. ‘Wearing a diamond 
pin, conservatively valued at $75’ 
(San Francisco Chronicle, July 12, 

conservator. In Am. the technical 
term for a person appointed to care 
for idiots or lunatics and look after 
their property. ‘ Conservators are 
daily appointed over men who hold 
less crazy notions.’ 

The term has also been adopted in 
connexion with President Franklin D. 
Roosevelt’s National Recovery pro- 
gramme. ‘Title IT [of the Emergency 
Banking Act of 1933] authorized the 
Comptroller of the Currency to ap- 
pomt conservators for national bank- 
mg associations. . . . The office of a 
conservator is practically the same as 
that of a receiver, but the manner of 
the appointment of conservators, the 
powers they possess, and the pro- 
cedure under which they operate, are 
all designed to provide more flexible 
and speedier administration of the 
institutions committed to their care 
than is customary in the usual re- 
ceivership process. The conservator’s 
primary purpose, as the name im- 
plies, IS to conserve the assets of a 
bank for the benefit of the depositors, 
the creditors, and the stockholders. 
To that end he has complete charge 
of the assets and business affairs of 
the bank’ (C. A. Beard and G. H, E, 
Smith, The Future Comes, 20). 

conservatory. In Eng. conservatory 
commonly denotes a greenhouse. The 
French form conservatoire is preferred 
in the sense of school of music. In Am. 
conservatory is ordinarily used in the 
latter sense. ‘A hst of conservatories 
and university and college music de- 




partments in the South’ (U. M. 
Gregory in Culture in the South, 

considerable. In Am. considerable 
often = Eng. a considerable amount, 
a good deal, much, ‘It takes con- 
siderable to surprise a professional 
gambler.’ ‘Their only fault was an 
over-plenty of grass, which was con- 
siderable of a handicap to the Eng. 
golfers.’ ‘When the engineers now 
say that the estimate of three years 
ago was too low by only $143,000,000, 
they fail to cover the ground by 
considerable.’ ‘Considerable of his 
time was spent measuring the angles 
between the different stars’ (F. S. 
Harris, Scientific Research and 
Human Welfare, 207). 

consolidated. For the Am. term 
consolidated ticket office see the first 
quotation. ‘Instead of a separate 
ticket office in cities for each railroad, 
consolidated ticket offices, where a 
ticket for any train on any road could 
be purchased, were established’ 
(F. J. Haskin, The Am. Government, 
393). ‘There are four consolidated 
ticket offices in N.Y. city.’ In Eng. 
such an office would be called a, joint 
hooking office, 

construction. This word forms 
part of several technical terms in the 
vocab. of Am. railways; e.g. con- 
struciion laborer = Eng. naxroy, fcon- 
struction train, construction crew, 
construction gang = Eng. gang of 
nawies, ‘Where serving as construc- 
tion laborers on the railroads, they 
have received less than other races’ 
(J. W. Jenks and W. J. Lauck, 
Immigration Problem, 4). ‘Here the 
construction train rumbles up to the 
end of the completed track, the rails 
for the next section are taken from 
the storage cars, dumped upon the 
groimd with a clang, then carried to 
their place and slowly lowered upon 
the ties.’ ‘The bulk of the names on 
construction crew pay-rolls began 
with “ O ” or “Me” ’ (Mark Sxillivan, 
Our Times, iii. 895). ‘For years his 

construction gangs were busy at 
widely separated points [on the 
Union Pacific]’ (Prof. T. J. Grayson, 
Leaders and Penods of Am. Finance, 

The terms strict construction{ist) and 
broad construction{ist) or liberal con- 
struction{ist) denote two opposing 
schools of political thought with re- 
gard to the interpretation of the U.S, 
Constitution. The nature of their 
difference is sufficiently mdicated in 
the following quotations. ‘He was 
a “strict constructionist”, and, as 
the Constitution did not say m so 
many words that the U.S. might ac- 
quire new territory, he denied the 
ability of the U.S. to do so’ (W. F. 
Johnson, A Century of Expansion, 
101). ‘Here, too, he [Hamilton] 
rendered a still more broad and signal 
service, in first setting forth in clear 
and convincing terms the theory of 
implied powers and resulting powers 
vested in the National Government 
under the Constitution — ^the theory 
that every power clearly given in- 
volves necessarily the right in Con- 
gress to use every necessary and 
proper means to carry that power 
into execution. In other words, he 
was the author of the doctrine of 
liberal construction, which has enabled 
the Supreme Court from time to time 
to adopt and apply the general pro- 
visions of the Constitution, as its 
framers intended, to successive na- 
tional exigencies as they arose, 
whereby that venerated instrument 
has grown with the growth of the 
nation, instead of being left behind 
and discarded as an outworn garment 
rent asunder at every seam’ (J. H. 
Choate, Address on Hamilton, 61). 

fcontact is a familiar word in Eng., 
esp. in the expressions be in contact 
with, come into contact with. It is in 
much more general use, however, in 
Am., notably in the plur. form con- 
tacts, which = Eng. associations or 
acqumntanceships, ‘My contacts with 
Governor Sproul have been many and 
friendly’ (G. W. Pepper, In the 




Senate, 8). ‘Years ago it was cus- 
tomary for the head of the police 
force in any large city to maintain 
certain useful contacts with the 
underworld’ (Jane Addams, The 
Second 20 Years at Hull-House, 249). 
‘Intellectual concentration would 
take too much time; it would restrict 
the student’s social contacts’ (Dr. A. 
Flexner, Umversities, 69). ‘He was 
at his post in the legation, gaining 
experience steadily, enjoying his 
contacts with Lowell’ (A. Nevins, 
Henry White, 55). ‘All contacts be- 
tween the editor and the President 
kept on a formal plane’ (F. F. Bond, 
Mr. Miller of The Times, 113). 

The word is also used as a trans. 
verb in a corresponding sense. ‘The 
new secretary of the club has been 
spending the past few days in the 
Berkshire contacting new members 
and meeting old members of the 
club.’ ‘Mr. Dickey contacted every 
family in three representative agri- 
cultural coimties and found the 
economic facts of their existence’ 
(L. F. Carr, Am. Challenged, 61). 

contest. In Eng. a contested election 
is one at which there is more than one 
candidate for a vacancy; i.e. where 
there is a contest, and not an un- 
opposed return. In Am. it is also an 
election whose result is challenged as 
invalid. ‘The House of Representa- 
tives and the Senate are the judges of 
the election, returns, and qualifica- 
tions of their own members, and 
therefore contested elections are not 
determined by a judicial tribunal, as 
m Eng.’ (C. A. Beard, Am. Govern- 
ment and Politics, 229). A quotation 
in the O.E.D. from the Letters of 
Jumus shows that this Am. use of the 
term was once the Eng. use also. 
j*The denvative contestant is recog- 
nized by the O.E.D. as of Eng. ongin, 
but until recent years it ms been 
seldom used in Eng. In Am., on the 
other hand, it has long occupied the 
place of the Eng. competitor. ‘The 
friends of the various contestants 
make up a far larger audience than 

one finds at similar sports in Am.’ 
(J. Corbin, An Am. at Oxford, 135). 
‘The designs being submitted to a 
jury of architects who voted on them 
without knowing the names of the 
contestants’ (E. Wharton, Sanc- 
tuary, 89). 

continent. In Eng. the continent 
means the continent of Europe, but 
in Am. the continent of N. Am. 
‘Louisville is now the Mecca of 
Pythians from every quarter of the 

The continental TJ.S. is a term used 
to denote the U.S, of the mainland, 
in distinction from the nation’s over- 
seas possessions. ‘The census of 
1870 showed that in the continental 
U.S. there were living 38,558,000 
persons’ (L. M, Hacker and B. B. 
Kendrick, The U.S. since 1868, 

Continental Congress was the name 
of an assembly of delegates from 
twelve colonies meeting at Phila- 
delphia m 1774 and of a similar as- 
sembly which first met m 1775 and 
continued to exercise certain powers 
of government until the Federal 
Constitution came into force. This 
Congress issued currency notes, popu- 
larly known as continentals, whose 
subsequent depreciation gave rise to 
a proverbial term. ‘ The paper money 
of the U.S. declined to zero, and the 
phrase “not worth a continental” 
was so impressed upon the people 
that, unlike the money to which it 
referred, it gained a lasting circula- 
tion’ (J. Truslow Adams, The Epic 
of Am. 97). ‘He talks like a man who 
has laid in a supply of lightning 
rods and doesn’t care a continent^ 
how soon the storm comes.’ *“Look 
here, Jethro,” said Mr. Balch, “I’m 
beginmng to think you don’t care a 
continental about this business’” 
(W. Churchill, Coniston, 498). 

contour has sometimes in Am. a fig. 
sense imknown in Eng. ‘Mr. Black- 
bum is jubilant over the contour of 
things, and says he is confident of 
election.’ ‘The contours of the dis- 




cussion confirm in a general way the 
diagnosis of the report’ (C. M. Clay, 
The Mamstay of Am, Individual- 
ism, 3). 

contraband. ‘In 1862 Gen. Grant 
appointed him superintendent of 
contrabands. At one time he had 
under his charge 150,000 contra- 
bands; many of these he placed on 
abandoned plantations, and 70,000 of 
these able-bodied men were enlisted 
as soldiers.’ This peculiar use of 
contrahand is explained in the follow- 
ing quotation, relating to the Civil 
War: ‘When fugitive slaves had come 
within the lines of Gen. B. F. Butler’s 
command at Fortress Monroe, he re- 
fused to give them up to their masters 
and set them to work on his own 
fortifications. He called them “con- 
traband of war”, and “contraband” 
continued to be the nickname of the 
confiscated negroes throughout the 
war’ (Prof. D. S. Muzzey, The Am. 
Adventure, i. 554 n.). 

convention. In Eng. the regular 
annual meeting of a rehgious, educa- 
tional, social, commercial, or other 
organization is usually called a con- 
ference. In Am. it is a convention, 
(When this term is used in Eng., it 
applies to an informal assembly only; 
e.g. we have the Keswick Convention 
but the Methodist Conference.) Thus, 
the annual convention of the Na- 
tional Education Association corre- 
sponds to the annual conference of the 
National Union of Teachers. ‘ The dis- 
cussions which one hears at business 
meetings and conventions.’ ‘The 
delegates to the annual convention of 
the National Piano Manufacturers’ 
Association of Am.’ 

In Am. politics this term has certain 
spec, meanings. The official meetings 
which decide the affairs of the politi- 
cal parties are known as county ^ city^ 
distncA^ state^ and national conven- 
tions, Each such assembly is com- 
posed of delegates appointed by 
conventions of next rank or by the 
primaries. The national convention, 
held every fourth year, is sometimes 

called a nominating convention, as its 
principal function is to nominate the 
party’s candidate for the Presidency. 

The word convention is also the name 
for a representative body called to 
frame or revise a political constitu- 
tion. The Constitution of the U.S. 
was drawn up by the Federal Con- 
vention which met in 1787. So, too, 
most of the constitutions of the 
various States are the product of 
conventions elected for the purpose, 
and many such constitutions include 
a proviso requirmg the calling of 
further conventions, at fixed inter- 
vals, for the consideration of con- 
stitutional amendments. Accord- 
ingly, the Am. meaning of the term 
constitutional convention is entirely 
different from its Eng. meaning. In 
Eng. it denotes one of those constitu- 
tional customs or maxims which, 
though not embodied m any legal 
enactment and not enforceable by the 
courts, are nevertheless, m Freeman’s 
words, ‘in practice held hardly less 
sacred than any principle embodied 
in the Great Charter or in the Petition 
of Right’. As examples of these con- 
ventions Dicey gives such maxims 
as ; ‘The King must assent to any bill 
passed by the two Houses of Parlia- 
ment’ and ‘When the House of 
Lords acts as a Court of Appeal, no 
peer who is not a law lord takes part 
in the decisions of the House’, In 
the Am. political system also there 
are many such conventions; notably, 
that which requires that the Presi- 
dential Electors appointed in a State 
shall support the candidate to whom 
the popular vote has given a majority, 
and shall not exercise their indepen- 
dent judgement. The term constitu- 
tional convention, however, cannot be 
applied to such a practice, as it has 
already been pre-empted for some- 
thing altogether different. Hence, 
when the compiler of this dictionary 
published a few years ago a study of 
the subject, he was reluctantly com- 
pelled to adopt for it the title ‘The 
Usages of the Am. Constitution’ — 
reluctantly, because the word mage 




does not express the leading idea as 
precisely as convention. A usage is 
merely a customary or habitual prac- 
tice, whereas a convention is a prac- 
tice that is established by general 
tacit consent. 

cook. In Am. cook takes the place 
of Eng. cookery or cooking in com- 
pound words. Thus Am. cookbook = 
Eng. cookery hook. (Cf. German 
Kochhuch.) ‘It is a medium-sized 
book, on the back of which is stamped 
“General Mess Manual and Cook- 
book, U.S. Navy”.’ ‘Chemistry can 
thus be reduced to a series of cook- 
book receipts’ (Smith and Hall, 
Teaching of Chemistry, 34). ‘ Special- 
ized, or partly specialized, cookbooks 
are many’ (G. Overton, Cargoes for 

So, too, Am. cookstove = Eng. cook- 
ing stove. ‘The cabin could barely 
hold cookstove and dining-table’ 
(C. Moffett, Careers of Danger, 64). 

copy. In Eng. a book in which a 
writer of letters or other documents 
keeps copies of them is now called 
a copying-book. It was once called a 
copy-book, but that word is now 
restricted to a book in which models 
of handwriting are set for learners to 
imitate. The earlier use survives in 
Am. ‘Years later, when his original 
copy-books were discovered, the 
world was startled to find how many 
hundreds of letters this persistent 
man had written in a vain effort to 
collect the taxes’ (Prof. T. J. Gray- 
son, Leaders and Periods of Am. 
Finance, 30). ‘This collection in- 
cludes a copy book of letters from 
Buchanan to Marcy’ (A. A. Ettin- 
ger. The Mission to Spain of Pierre 
Soul^, 506). 

The functions of a copy-reader in an 
Am. newspaper ofi&ce correspond 
largely to tixose of a sub-editor in an 
Eng. office. ‘Each of these depart- 
ments has a force of copy-readers, 
whose duty it is to edit the matter 
written by the reporters and corre- 
spondents’ (E. L. Shuman, Practical 
Journalism, 18). ‘Everything which 

the young reporters wrote received 
the closest editing. Their stuff passed 
not to a copy-reader as now, but to 
an editor direct’ (F. F. Bond. Mr. 
Miner of The Times, 39). ‘With this 
paper for 22 years, he worked 
variously as reporter, copyreader, 
telegraphic editor, city editor, and 
special correspondent’ (Diet. Am. 
Biog. xii. 413). 

cordially serves in Am. as an 
alternative to faithfully or sincerely in 
the formula for closing a letter. For 
published examples, see The Letters 
of Franklin K. Lane, 33, 115, 116, 
118, &c.; The Intimate Papers of 
Col. House, i. 50, 173, 232 ; iii. 400 ; 
Letters and Memorials of Wendell 
Phillips Garrison, 15, 112; Life and 
Letters of Edwin Lawrence Godl^in, 
li. 128, 181; and The Letters and 
Friendships of Sir Cecil Spring Rice, 
ii. 197, 314, 324 (Letters of Pres. 

corduroy. The ribbing of corduroy 
has suggested in Am. the term 
corduroy road to denote a primi- 
tive road of tree-trunks laid across 
swampy ground. ‘During the rainy 
season the ground is too soft to 
permit the use of trucks, and the 
logs are loaded on rude sleds, while 
the roads are roughly corduroyed by 
placing hardwood poles, about three 
inches in diameter, across the track, 
two or three feet apart.’ ‘While you 
are crossing that bridge you are an 
active imitation of popcorn being 
popped, for the bridge is built like 
an old corduroy road, and you bump 
and shake like a man with a combina- 
tion of the ague and St. Vitus dance.’ 
Dr. Lavendar, in one of Margaret 
Deland’s stories, says he feels as if 
he had been driven ten miles on a 
corduroy road. ‘The coach was for- 
ever thumping over corduroy roads’ 
(U. S 1 NCIA.IR, Manassas, 42). See also 
Dickens’s Am. Notes, c. 14. 

corn. Oliver Wendell Holmes (One 
Himdred Days in Europe, 220) pic- 
tures an average American and an 




average Englishman talking together. 
One of them speaks of the beauty of 
a field of corn. ‘They are thinking’, 
he remarks, ‘of two entirely different 
objects; one of a billowy level of soft 
waving wheat, or rye, or barley; the 
other of a rustling forest of tall, 
jointed stalks, tossing their plumes 
and showing their silken epaulettes, 
as if every stem in the ordered ranks 
were a soldier in full regimentals.’ 
For corn, in Am., always denotes 
what in Eng. is called maize, or Indian 
corn. In the British Isles, ‘as a 
general term, the word includes all 
the cereals — wheat, rye, barley, oats, 
maize, rice, &c. Locally, the word, 
when not otherwise qualified, is often 
understood to denote that kind of 
cereal which is the leading crop of the 
district; hence in the greater part of 
Eng. corn = wheat, in North Britain 
and Ireland = oats^ (O.E.D.). Prof. 
Freeman points out (Impressions of 
the U.S.) that the Am. restnction of 
com to Indian com is analogous to 
the narrower use of beast among Eng. 
graziers and of bird among Eng. 
sportsmen. See also pop. 

The following quotations illustrate 
the Am. use of the word. ‘The corn 
was in tassel now, and rustled softly 
in the fields.’ ‘The com crop pro- 
mises the largest yield in the country’s 
history. But the wheat crop has not 
fared well.’ ‘What was formerly a 
great wheat-growing region has turned 
to com.’ 

Com has, of course, the same mean- 
ing in its various Am. compounds, 
such as com bread, com cob, com 
dodger, cornfield, com fritter, com 
husk, com mush, com pone, com 
shucking, com starch. The one example 
of the Eng. adoption of the Am. 
meaning seems to be com flour, which 
in Am. is called com starch, 

Eng. corn = Am. grain. Thus Eng. 
com haroest = Am. gram harvest and 
Eng. com factor = Am. grain broker, 

corporation. At the time of the 
Hatry sensation a N.Y. paper came 
out with the headlme, ‘London Stock 

Exchange Suspends Deahngs In 
British Corporation Stocks’, and for 
a quarter of an hour Wall Street was 
staggered. The suspension was actu- 
ally of dealings in the stocks of cer- 
tain municipal corporations. In Am. 
all business companies are commonly 
spoken of as corporations, and the 
headlme accordingly read as if it 
meant that the London Stock Ex- 
change had suspended dealings in 
the shares of all British companies. 
This use of the word goes back as 
far as the time of Dickens, for the 
0,E,D, quotes a passage from his 
American Notes in which he speaks 
of ‘what we should term a Company 
of Proprietors, but what they call in 
Am. a Corporation’. 

Thus, the statement that ‘down to 
1901 Massachusetts corporations were 
not permitted to issue preferred 
stock’ does not refer, as the Eng. 
reader might suppose, to mmuci- 
palities but to business companies. 
‘Joint stock companies, as corpora- 
tions were still called [in 1819], had 
been organized m great numbers ’ 
(A. M. Simons, Social Forces in Am. 
Hist. 161). ‘The profits of big cor- 
porations are more public than those 
of small firms’ (W. Lippmann, Public 
Opinion, 44). ‘In the states of this 
country the principal duty of the 
state government is to maintain the 
system of the courts, to care for 
prisons and asylums, and to have 
general charge of the corporations 
which do business withm its limits, 
such as the railways, manufacturing 
companies, etc.’ (Prof. N. S. Shaler, 
The Citizen, 76). 

Writing in Harper^s Monthly, W. D. 
Howells says of some Am. visitors to 
Chester that ‘they rode on the tops 
of the mumcipal tram-cars with ap- 
parently no apprehension for their 
violation of the sacred Am. principle 
of corporational enterprise in trans- 
portation’, Here corporational is in 
direct contrast with municipal. 

Hence Am. corporation law = Eng, 
company law, and the Am. corporatism 
lawyer or corporation attorney is not 




the legal adviser of a municipality, 
but a lawyer whose services are re- 
tained by business interests. When 
Theodore Dreiser declares (Tragic 
Amenca, 10) that ‘corporation police 
have perpetrated lawless terror upon 
strikers’, he means by corporation 
police not a municipal police force 
but a body of police maintained and 
controlled by a mining company. 

corresponding member. In Eng. 
this term is used in its literal sense, 
denoting a foreign member of a 
society who communicates with it by 
letter. In Am., election as a corre- 
sponding member is a compliment paid 
to a visitor actually present at a 
meeting of the society. It confers on 
him the right of taking part in the 
proceedings, without the power to 

Cossack. The special Am. use of 
this word is sufficiently indicated by 
the following quotations. ‘In the 
Standard Steel Car Co, strike at 
Butler, Pennsylvania, state police 
were called in and those workers born 
in Tsarist Russia were not surpnsed 
to see mounted troopers riding into 
their very homes, scattering curses 
and terror among women and chil- 
dren. In fact, the state troopers were 
dubbed “Cossacks” by strikers who 
had felt the impact of mace on skull’ 
(H. O’Connor, Mellon’s Millions, 
208). ‘The operators had already 
formed the Coed and Iron Police, that 
private army, clothed with the police 
power of the state, which has long 
been infamous in labor history as 
the Pennsylvania Cossacks’ (A. 
Bxmba, The Molly Maguires, 55). 
‘No other ostensible democracy in 
the world in recent years has seen 
the police machinery used against 
labor as state troopers or “Cossacks” 
are used in our states North and 
South’ (Norman Thomas, America’s 
Way Out, 270). 

cottage. In Words and Their Ways 
in Eng, Speech Greenough and Kit- 
tredge devote more than a page to 

the history of this word in Am. ‘We 
have never’, they say, ‘really had the 
thing in Am.’, as the conditions of 
rustic life have, from the very first, 
differed essentially from those in 
Eng. Hence cottage has always had 
literary and sentimental connotations 
in Am. The word seemed to meet 
the demand for a name for the dwel- 
lings in the country or at the sea in 
which Americans nowadays spend a 
part of the summer. ‘It had pre- 
cisely the rural and sentimental 
associations required, and it served to 
distmguish these temporary shelters 
from the larger and more sub- 
stantial “houses” in the neighbor- 
hood. Hence, cottage came to mean 
a “summer residence”, however 
splendid, like the cottages at New- 
port, which are really villas on a very 
grand scale.’ 

This use of the word is illustrated in 
the following passages. ‘The scope 
of daily necessities has expanded al- 
most as greatly in the laborer’s 
cottage as in the Newport cottage of 
the nuUionaire.’ ‘The French critic 
Geoffrey has warned us against being 
taken in by the “false naive”, and 
certamly that warning would be 
necessary for an intelligent foreigner 
who should adjust his wardrobe and 
expectations to a “cottage” on the 
cliff walk.’ 

‘In the coimtry farmhouse,’ Mrs. 
Rorer tells us, ‘schmierkase, or cot- 
tage cheese, is made from sour milk’ 
(Mrs. Rorer’s New Cook Book, 270). 
Its rural origin is presumably re- 
sponsible for the name cottage cheese. 
It seems to be very much the same 
as the Eng. curd cheese or cream cheese. 
Dr. R. L, Alsaker (Eating for Health 
and Efficiency, 155) gives the following 
recipe for it; ‘Pour clabbered milk m 
muslin bag and let it drain in cool 
place. Do not drain entirely dry, but 
leave some whey in the mass. After 
draining, beat well, adding some rich 
milk, either sour or sweet; or add 
cream. Do not beat enough to remove 
the little lumps entirely.’ More 
elaborate instructions and warnings 




will be found in an article on ‘The 
Arcadian School of Cookery’ in the 
Atlantic Monthly of Dec, 1933. Its 
author, Mr. Wendell Brooks Phillips, 
assures us that cottage cheese at its 
best surpasses every other dairy pro- 
duct, but complains that ‘nine tenths 
of the cottage cheese that one en- 
counters has been grossly, palpably 

councilman. Exc. that it is re- 
tained in connexion with the Common 
Council of the City of London, 
councilman, as a designation for a 
member of a municipal council, is 
now obs. in Eng., having been super- 
seded by councillor. It is still the 
normal term in Am. ‘There was [at 
Philadelphia"! the same old arrange- 
ment of a mayor, councilmen, and 
the usual elected officials’ (L. Stef- 
fens, Autobiog. i. 408). 

There has been formed from this 
word the adj. coundlmanic, probably 
on the analogy of aldermanic. ‘Yes- 
terday’s voting was comparatively 
light, as there was not much interest 
in the contest, aside from council- 
manic fights in a few wards.’ ‘The 
Municipal League elected ten of the 
councihnanic candidates whom it had 
endorsed’ (Dr. H. Zink, City Bosses 
in U.S. 242). 

count. If Am. election officials 
make a fraudulent return by ignoring 
some of the votes cast for a certain 
candidate, they may be said to count 
out (\) the votes thus ignored and (2) 
the candidate who suffers thereby, 
(1) ‘It is well known that votes have 
been habitually counted out by the 
reactionary groups in Spanish poli- 
tics. This, plus the local boss and the 
use of money to buy votes wholesale, 
used to be effective.’ (2) ‘In the 
course of his speech, he referred to 
his candidacy for mayor and his de- 
feat. “And coimted out” spoke up 
some one in the audience.’ ‘Henry 
George [when a candidate for the 
mayoralty of N.Y.] lacked party 
machinery, particularly watchers at 
the polls, and he befieved he was 

counted out’ (Diet. Am. Biog. vii. 
215), ‘In 1838 he ran for Congress 
but was “counted out” by 5 votes 
after 50 ballots had been thrown out 
because the voters had spelled his 
name “Duglas” and not “Douglas’” 
(E. D. Adams and J. C. Almack, 
Hist, of U.S. 494). 

In Am. counting room is generally 
preferred to counting house, ‘Criti- 
cism of the theatre is subject to many 
limitations, not the least of which is 
the overshadowing whiphand of the 
counting room.’ ‘He disabused the 
Am. business man of his conviction 
that divine right had passed from the 
throne to the counting room’ (H. F. 
Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt, 370). 
‘To go back East was to get into 
another life, a life of crowded popula- 
tion, of drawing-rooms and counting- 
rooms’ (J. Truslow AdajMS, Epic 
of Am. 154). 

county. For the place of the county 
in the local government of the U.S., 
see Bryce’s Am, Commonwealth, 
chapters xlviii and xlix. In Am. the 
name of a county is always followed 
by the word county, usually with a 
capital initial. Thus, one would say 
that such-and-such a place is in 
Suffolk County, In Eng. it would be 
said to be in Suffolk, or in the county 
of Suffolk — ^never in Stiffolk County, 
(In Ireland, County, often abbrev. to 
Co,, is prefixed to the name; e.g. 
Co, Dublin,) This difference in usage 
sometimes gives nse to misunderstand- 
ings. Thus, a famous Am. author once 
inquired in his London hotel for a 
schedule of the trains to Surrey, 
where, as he explained, a friend of his 
lived whom he wished to visit. He 
naturally assumed that, if Surrey were 
a county and not a town, it would 
appear in his friend’s address as 
Surrey County, 

Am. county seat ^ Eng. county 
imm, ‘The country has changed 
greatly since then; the schoolhouses 
are no longer built of logs, and the 
county seat has a stone court-house.’ 
‘In all probability the coimty seat of 




Richmond County will be removed as 
soon as possible from Richmond 
Village to New Brighton. All Staten 
Islanders are unanimous in the 
opinion that New Brighton would 
make a much more convenient seat 
for the county administration.’ ‘He 
was in mortal terror of being arrested 
and taken to the county seat at 
Newholm for violation of the liquor 
law’ (M. E. Wilkins Freeman, 
Shoulders of Atlas, 48). 

In Am. a county court has jurisdiction 
in criminal as well as civil cases. In 
some parts of the U.S. the name is 
given to a' body of men which has no 
judicial functions at all but is a board 
of supervisors chosen to attend to 
certain important branches of the 
county business. 

course. In Am. colleges and uni- 
versities a degree conferred after the 
applicant’s fSfilment of the normal 
requirements as to studies, examina- 
tions, 4&C., IS said to be conferred in 
course, ‘After the degrees in course 
had been given, honorary degrees 
were conferred on etc.’ ‘De^ees, on 
the whole, have an uncertain signi- 
ficance, though a degree “in course” 
at an institution where the highest 
standards are maintained still pos- 
sesses an honorable usefulness.’ 

court. In Am., court may be per- 
sonified and used as a synonym for 
judge, ‘The Court himself, possessed 
of a countenance and bearing else- 
where commanding, appeared little 
more than a pygmy here, in spite of 
his elevation on the bench.’ The 
word may be so employed even 
officially. Thus, Judge Caverly, in 
his judgement in the Leopold-Loeb 
murder trial in Chicago in Sept. 1923, 
made the following statement; ‘It is 
not for the Court to say that he will 
not in any case enforce capital punish- 
ment as an alternative, but the Court 
believes that it is within his provmce 
to decline to impose the sentence of 
death on persons who are not of full 

The Great and General Court of 

Massachusetts is not a judicial tri- 
bunal but the State legislature. ‘The 
Great and General Court of the 
commonwealth began work yesterday, 
when both legislative houses con- 
vened.’ Cf. the Eng. High Court of 

Am. court house does not always = 
Eng. law court. It is sometimes part 
of the name of a town in which a law 
court is held. ‘Twenty-one buildings 
in the heart of Cape May Court House, 
the county seat of Cape May County, 
were burned early to-day.’ ‘Her 
scholars were equally well cared for, 
whether they hailed from Washington 
Square or Washington Court House’ 
[i.e. whether from an aristocratic 
neighbourhood or from a rural dis- 
trict] (Winston Churchill, Conis- 
ton, 323). 

courtesy. When an Am. newspaper 
or magazine prints an illustration by 
permission of the owner of the copy- 
right in such picture, acknowledge- 
ment is usually made in the terms, 
{By) courtesy of, &c. In a similar 
case in Eng, the conventional ac- 
knowledgement is By favour of, &c. 
To be granted the courtesies (or 
courtesy) o/ the 'port is to be exempted 
from the usual Customs examination. 
‘He requested that the courtesies of 
the port be extended to the treaty 
commissioners from the new republic.’ 
‘That Senators and Representatives 
mind the rigors of customs inspec- 
tions when they have to endure them 
was made evident by the roar they 
sent up when the State Department 
threatened to deprive them of the 
courtesy of the port, so that they 
might no longer railroad in their own 
purchases scot-free.’ ‘The Secretary 
issued to-day a circular defining 
more closely “the courtesies of the 
port”. The distinction between 
facilitation and courtesies is em- 
phasized, and it is the former only 
that goes to invalids, persons arriving 
in charge of their dead, etc.’ 

For Senatorial courtesy, see the 
following quotation. ‘A Senator 




objecting to a candidate nominated 
from his State [by the President] can 
count upon abundant support from 
his fellow Senators, every one of 
whom realizes that it may be his 
turn next to need support in a similar 
contingency. This is what is called 

Senatorial courtesy”’ (F. E. Lexjpp, 
Walks about Washington, 87). 

fcover. In the vocab. of Am. 
journalism cover = Eng. report. ‘A 
reporter of long and varied expenence, 
esp. in covenng accidents, fires, crimes 
and the like.’ ‘The special corre- 
spondent of that paper has performed 
a notable service by the calm and 
judicial manner in which he covers 
the annual congress of the National 
Negro Business League.’ ‘The Rus- 
sians were far more adroit in handling 
the newspaper correspondents who 
covered the deliberations’ (H. F. 
Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt, 387). 

cow. Esp. in the Western States, 
cow IS found m many compounds 
with the meaning of cattle. Thus 
a cowboy or cow-^puncher is a man 
in charge of the live stock on a 
ranch. ‘He is considered a poor 
makeshift for a cowboy who cannot 
subdue and ride a wild pony in these 
efforts.’ ‘The rancher with his force 
of cowboys, cooks, etc., formed a self- 
supporting unit’ (A. M. Simons, 
Social Forces in Am. Hist 138). ‘In 
1871 more than 600,000 cattle, each 
herd in charge of its cowboys, fol- 
lowed the long trail up from Texas’ 
(J. Tbuslow Adams, The Epic of 
Am. 292). ‘A band of genuine 
Western “cow-punchers” — ^men who 
have “rounded up” the herd, “hog- 
tied” and “cut out” big steers, 
“busted” broncos, ridden and con- 
quered outlaws and braved many a 
storm,’ ‘A volimteer regiment of 
cavalry, in which the dare-devil cow- 
punchers of the prairie rode side by 
side with the adventurous scions of 
the most distinguished families ’ 
(E. B, Holt’s translation of Dr. H. 
MtJNSTERBERG, The Americans, 75). 

The Am, cowboy rides about the 

ranch on a cow pony, ‘ Ben got aboard 
the cow pony he had used in his 
cattle punching days.’ ‘The Rough 
Riders were cantering up and down 
Pennsylvania Avenue, tethenng their 
cow ponies to lamp-posts in front of 
hospitable saloons’ (H. F. Pringle, 
Theodore Roosevelt, 362). 

The word cowman^ in its Am. use, is 
esp. likely to be misunderstood in 
Eng. At the Eng. census of 1931, a 
specimen census-paper officially cir- 
culated mentioned a cowman as an 
employee of a farmer. That would 
have been impossible in Am., where 
a cowman is not a farm hand who 
attends to cows, but an owner of 
cows (or, rather, of cattle), usuaUy on 
a very large scale. ‘According to 
his stoiy, he was a Northern cowman, 
and had purchased the cattle a few 
days before in Dodge’ (Andy Adams, 
The Outlet, 164). ‘All the people 
who had settled this valley had gone 
never to return; the cowman had 
bought up all the homesteads’ 
(C. H. Sternberg, Life of a Fossil 
Hunter, 245). See also cattleman 
and SHEEPaiAN. 

Other Am. compounds are cow- 
camp, cow-country, and cow-town. ‘In 
cow-camps a soldier’s introduction is 
usually sufficient’ (Andy Adams, 
The Outlet, 40). ‘How many com- 
munities, even in mining camp and 
cow-country, elect men to office 
while out on bail for a prison offence? * 
‘The cow country of the Far West 
provided another chapter in the later 
history of the Am. frontier’ (L. M. 
Hacker and B. B. Kendrick, The 
U.S. since 1865, 133). ‘We pay a 
brief visit to the cow-towns, where 
the cowboys dance and drink and 
gamble tlirough the night.’ ‘The 
“cattle kings” began to appear in 
the “cow towns”, where they met 
their herds driven m by the cowboys’ 
(J. Truslow Adams, The Epic of 
Am. 292). 

A cowcatcher is a frame fixed in front 
of a railway engine to remove cattle 
or other obstructions. ‘When the 
locomotive stopped, the child was 




sitting on the rail less than two feet 
in front of the cowcatcher.’ Cf. pilot. 
The Eng. cowslip is the Primula 
veris. The Am. is the Caltha palustrls, 
or marsh marigold. 

A compound peculiar to Am. is cow- 
bird, denoting several species of Molo- 
thrus. The bird is so named, acc. to 
the Century Diet,, from its accom- 
panying cattle. It IS sometimes called 
com bunting. 

The cow-pea is largely grown for 
fodder in the Southern States. Its 
botanical name is Vigna sinensis, 

cracker. See biscuit. ‘Subsisting 
part of the time on cheese and 
crackers.’ ‘The soft- wheat flours 
have high starch content, and are 
particularly suited for cake and 
pastry, soda biscuit, and crackers’ 
(T. C. Blaisdell, The Federal Trade 
Commission, 138). 

At the CROSS-ROAD (q.v.) stores, the 
local wiseacres are commonly pic- 
tured as seated on cracker-boxes or 
cracker-barrels while they discuss 
public affairs. ‘He was at home 
among “the boys” in mining camps, 
railroad yards, and around the 
cracker barrels of country stores’ 
(L. Symes and T. Clement, Rebel 
Am. 230). ‘Politics, rum, nches, and 
religion — ^these were the favorite 
topics of Am. cracker-barrel debaters’ 
(J. T. Flynn, God’s Gold, 37). ‘His 
sudden alternations between inspiring 
religious eloquence and the cracker- 
barrel vernacular of the backwoods’ 
(E. Wilson, The Am. Jitters, 231). 
‘He was one of the horde of cracker- 
box politicians who were swept into 
the General Court’ (Diet. Am. Biog. 
VI. 6). ‘Crackerbox Philosophers in 
Am. Humor and Satire’ is the title 
of a study of Am. folk humour pub- 
lished by the Columbia University 

The word cracker also denotes a 
member of ‘an inferior class of white 
hill-dwellers in some of the souHiem 
U.S., esp. in Georgia and Flonda’ 
(Century Diet.). Acc. to the same 
diet., this name is said to have been 

applied to them because cracked 
corn is their chief article of diet. 
‘There is something pathetic in the 
way the cultivated and high-class 
Southern people, who formerly were 
represented in public life by scholarly 
gentlemen, are now overridden by 
the “cracker” element.’ 

cramp is more usual in Am. in the 
plur. than in the sing. ‘He had been 
swimming for over an hour, when he 
suddenly sank, presumably from 
cramps.’ ‘One should never go 
swimming right after eating, for so 
doing tends to bring on cramps.’ 
‘He went bathing in the sea, was 
seized with cramps, and drowned be- 
fore help could reach him* (Diet. Am. 
Biog. ix. 228). 

cranberry. Acc. to Prof. G. H. 
MeICnight (Eng. Words and Their 
Background, 28) this term applies in 
Am. to a different species from the 
one so called in Eng, This distinction 
is confirmed by the O.E.D., which 
says that the Eng. cranberry is 
Vaedmum oxycoccos, but the Am. is 
the larger fruit, Vaedmum macro- 

credit, in the vocab. of Am. educa- 
tion, denotes a certificate attesting 
the completion of a certain course of 
study. The credits given in Eng. 
School Certificate examinations attest 
the attainment of a higher standard 
than is required for an ordinary certi- 
ficate. ‘“Coimt” and “credit” are 
Americanisms : the words mean that a 
given subject has been studied in class 
so many hours a week for so many 
weeks or months ; at the end of the 
period a written examination is held. 
Students who pass have finished with 
the subject’ (Dr. A. Flexneb, Uni- 
versities, 46). ‘Getting an education 
is, externally at least, a process of 
passing courses, and rolling up a 
score of credits which at the end of a 
specified time can be cashed in for 
a degree’ (Prof. M. A. May, The 
Education of Am. Ministers, iii. 59). 
The National Association of Credit 




Men and the N.Y. Credit Men’s As- 
sociation are among the entries ap- 
pearing annually in the World 
Almanac’s list of Am. Associations 
and Societies. A credit man^ acc. to 
Webster, is an employee of a business 
house who fixes the amount of credit 
to be allowed to customers. 

In Am, a sale of a bankrupt’s stock 
IS sometimes called a creditors* sale. 

creek. ‘West of New York every- 
thing that runs is a “creek”. Brook, 
as a spoken word, is gone — ^the most 
regrettable loss the English language 
has suffered m Am. With us a creek 
does not run, but is a crack or inlet 
of the sea’ (Prof. G. H. Palmer, Life 
of Alice Freeman Palmer, 277). The 
claim Prof. Palmer thus makes for 
New Eng., as retaining the Eng. use 
of the word creek, needs to be dis- 
counted by the fact that M. M. 
Mathews (The Beginnings of Am. 
Eng. 7) notes an example in New 
Eng. official records, as early as 1638, 
of its use m the sense of a stream. 
However that may be, in most of the 
U.S. to-day a creek is a small stream. 
‘The soft rustling of many pines 
modifies the noisier clamor of the 
creek.’ ‘The Assanpmk Creek is 
ordinarily a quiet little creek that 
wends its way harmlessly through 
the city.’ ‘The local chronicle of this 
district was particularly interesting 
because of the famous River "W^arfe 
(we should call it a creek in Am.), a 
narrow turbulent stream with a dark 
history’ (G. Atherton, Adventures 
of a Novelist, 240). ‘The cold Cher- 
well stream is a clean country creek’ 
(Christopher Morley, John Mistle- 
toe, 326). Rock Creek Park, one of 
the sights of Washington, is a park 
through which flows a stream called 
Rock Creek. 

crematory is the form ordinarily 
preferred in Am. to the term cre- 
matorium, usual in Eng. ‘There are 
now 109 crematories in the U.S.’ 
(World Almanac for 1933, 799). 

crescent* For the reason why New 

Orleans is sometimes called the 
Crescent City, see the second quota- 
tion. ‘The order is signed by Secre- 
tary Meyer, but he never was in New 
Orleans, probably, and it must be 
presumed that the act is really Mr. 
Taft’s own, for the president was in 
the Crescent city but about a month 
ago.’ ‘Once the great bend in the 
I river gave to the city a rounded 
shape and the name of the “Crescent 
City” — ^a name without meaning to- 
day, save that its principal streets 
running north and south curve to 
follow the bend m the river’ (Prof. 
E. W. Parks, in Culture in the South, 

fcrew. In Am. a body of men em- 
plojred on a particular job, not neces- 
sarily nautical. ‘The crew of a local 
freight train had accidentally failed 
to close the switch.’ ‘ There were not 
enough tank builders m the U.S. to 
do the work, and crews were brought 
from Canada,’ ‘The injured girl was 
one of a night crew of 25 girls making 
electric apparatus in the building.’ 
‘The Japanese invasion of the lumber 
industry has been of a supplementary 
character. In no instances do we find 
a complete Japanese crew’ (E. G. 
Hears, Resident Orientals on the 
Ajn. Pacific Coast, 279). ‘In those 
days a “turpentine orchard” fre- 
quently gave a young man his start 
in life. A crew of negroes and several 
thousand trees were the necessary 
stock in trade’ (B. J, Hendrick, 
Earlier Life of Walter H. Page, 10). 
Dr. F. S. Harris speaks of a crew 
of men boring the Simplon Tunnel 
(Scientific Research and Human 
Welfare, 205) and says that, before 
the modern paper-making processes 
were evolved, ‘it required a crew of 
three men about a day to mold and 
fimish 4,000 small sheets of paper’ 
(ibid. 257). 

cricket has in Am, the additional 
meaning of a low wooden stool. In 
this sense it is now obs. in Eng. exc. 
in dial. ‘Children up to the age of 
six were encouraged to sit on crickets 



throughout the sermon and draw or 
look at pictures’ (Prof. Mary Ellen 
Chase, A Goodly Heritage, 142). 

crimson is the Harvard colour. 
‘The Indians got the jump on Har- 
vard, and time after time sent the 
Crimson line back for a yard or two.’ 

‘ It seemed to those who watched that 
Harvard’s reach, with the failure to 
finish strongly, lost the Crimson a 
fraction of a foot at each stroke.’ 

tfcrook* The use of this term to 
denote a rogue is now familiar in 
Eng., but it is a modern importation 
from Am. ‘All the most likely resorts 
of crooks are being carefully watched 
by detectives.’ ‘Mr. Young worked 
out his theory for the correct handling 
of crooks, of whom there was prob- 
ably a more abundant crop on both 
the business and the political sides 
of utilities than now’ (Ida M. Tar- 
bell, Owen D. Young, 04). 

crop. In the Southern States much 
land is cultivated by croppers or 
share-croppers under the share crop 
system, which is described in the first 
of the following quotations. ‘The 
aspiring but poverty-stricken hus- 
bandman must first become a “crop- 
per” or share tenant, obtaining tools, 
seed and draft animals from the 
landlord and usually giving him half 
of the crop grown’ (Prof. A. M. 
ScHLESiNGER, The Rise of the City, 
6). ‘The Negro share-croppers in the 
South are held in a state of peonage 
which differs little from their original 
state of slavery’ (E. Wilson, The 
Am. Jitters, 192). 

cross-roads. In Eng., mention of 
cross-roads evoked, in the old days, 
associations with the burial of sui- 
cides. Nowadays the word suggests 
rather a problem of the regulation of 
motor traffic. In Am. it commonly 
carries with it a provincial or rural 
implication. The place where high- 
ways intersect is apt to be the site 
near which the rudiments of a village 
grow up. It commonly has a general 
store or a blacksmith’s shop where the 

scattered inhabitants of the country- 
side meet for gossip and discussion. 
‘There was not a cross-roads in 
Kansas that was not swarming with 
men, full of drug-store whisky, 
chewing sweet flat tobacco, whittling 
dry-goods boxes, and cussing the 
government’. ‘The radio and the 
sound-pictures have made familiar 
to the voters at any cross-roads the 
voice, Imeaments and physical set-up 
of candidates.’ ‘Thousands of heart- 
ening messages poured into the White 
House from the cross-roads. The 
people saw in Roosevelt the prophet 
of a new social creed’ (J. K. Winkler, 
J. Pierponi Morgan, 244). ‘He would 
scatter his stock throughout the land 
and make people at every crossroads 
partners’ (The Mirrors of Wall 
Street, 159). 

Both cross-road and cross-roads are 
often used attrib. ‘A personal cam- 
paign which has -taken them into all 
the cross-roads hamlets.’ ‘President 
Cleveland was the first President 
with the moral courage to place an 
obstacle in the way of the cross-roads 
politicians wdio sought a pleasant 
berth abroad.’ ‘Around comfortable 
stoves in cross-road stores, where 
discussion is as constant a pastime 
as checkers’ (Prof. H. J. Ford, 
Woodrow Wilson, 85). ‘Men grown 
old still sit in cross-roads grocery 
stores, and tell of the giants who 
once lived’ (H. F. Pringle, Theodore 
Roosevelt, 161), 

crow. Am. eat crow = Eng, eat 
hu7td)le pie. ‘There appears to be one 
disappointed man who can’t eat his 
crow without making faces over it.’ 
‘High tariff had forced the farmers 
to eat crow in the shape of high 
prices for non-agricultural producS’ 
(L. F. Carr, Am. Challenged, 90). 

Am. a crow to pick s= Eng. a hone 
to pick. ‘The city of Hartford has a 
very black crow to pick with the 
President. He was riding on a train 
which stopped there the other day, 
and he actually asked where he was.’ 
The O.E.B. recognizes a crow to 




pluck or pull (rarely pick), but its 
latest example is dated 1849. 

crowd, noun crowd 

does not necessarily suggest a throng 
or large number. It is practically a 
synonym for group. Thus, one may 
remark of a certain family of singers, 
who were favourite performers 20 
years ago: ‘I don’t believe there’s 
one of the original crowd left.’ ‘He 
had been forced into the N. Y. Central 
directorate by the Standard Oil 
crowd.’ ‘ It is said that his resignation 
was forced, the President wantmg the 
place for one of his own crowd.’ 
‘The man coming home from work 
with his own crowd would stop m a 
saloon and treat six or eight men’ 
(Jane Addams, The Second 20 Years 
at Hull-House, 230). ‘On warm 
summer evenings we would organize 
a picnic crowd, a group of 10 or 12 
boys and girls, and go to the summit 
of Lookout Mountain’ (W. G. 
McAdoo, Crowded Years, 36). 

The verb crowd has a wider applica- 
tion in Am. than in Eng., both (1) 
literally and (2) figuratively. It has 
become almost a synonym for push, 
compel, bnng pressure to hear on, (1) 
‘He died from the effects of an acci- 
dent several days ago, when his horse 
crowded him over on to a sidewalk.’ 
‘There is a rent in the old wine-skin 
imder the crowding of the fresh fer- 
mentation’ (Dr. C. H. Parkhubst, 
A Little Lower Than The Angels, 
44). (2) ‘It would be bad policy for 
the business management of the Ime 
to crowd the technical management 
into the abandonment of any condi- 
1 ions of safety.’ ‘ In the grade schools, 
the specialists are crowding the grade 
teacher, and the latter is complaining 
that she has not sufficient time to 
teach thoroughly the three R’s.’ 
‘Holland was crowding Spain for 
first place in the commercial world’ 
(A. M. Simons, Social Forces in Am. 
Hist. 50). ‘A new article of faith is 
crowding for admission into the creed 
of Am.’ (Nobman Thomas, America’s 
Way Out, 44). 

fHence crcwd out and cromd up ~ 
Eng. drive out and drive up, ‘ He is a 
very large stockholder in the Illinois 
Central, and was crowded out of the 
road’s presidency by a man who is 
not known to have any large personal 
interest in the property.’ ‘The 
Rockefeller and the Morgan interests 
were also anxious to crowd Carnegie 
out’ (R. I. Wabshow, Story of Wall 
Street, 99). ‘The price of cotton is 
being crowded up higher than condi- 
tions of supply and demand warrant.’ 

crystal is popularly used in Am. to 
denote the glass cover protecting the 
dial of a watch; commonly called in 
Eng. a watch-glass. In Eng. crystal is 
used in this sense by watchmakers 

feub is sometimes used in Am. as an 
adj., as a smtable epithet for an 
apprentice or novice. ‘The recorder 
of the experiences and emotions of 
a cub pilot on the Mississippi.’ ‘Five 
months after his appearance in the 
office as a cub reporter, Page found 
himself editor-in-chief’ (B. J. Hen- 
DBiCK, Earlier Life of Walter H. 
Page, 131). In Eng. the normal term 
would be junior reporter, 

cucumber. In some parts of Am. 
this name is given to the magnolia, 
‘There is the magnolia, which they 
[the people of the Appalachian 
Mountains] call the wild cucumber, 
because of the scarlet, cucumber- 
shaped seed it bears in autumn. It 
grows very freely from 20 to 40 feet 
m height and is thick with blossom’ 
(Cecil Shabp, in a letter quoted in 
his biog., p. 161). Webster defines 
the cucumber-tree as ‘any of several 
Am. magnolias, esp. Magnolia acu- 
minata, said to be so called on account 
of a slight resemblance of its young 
fruit to a small cucumber’. 

cunning. In Am. this word often 
lacks any idea of dextenty or slyness. 
It is a common term of endear- 
ment, applied esp. to children and 
pet animals of small size, ‘What a 
cunning little baby I’ is the Am. 




eqtuvalent of the Eng. ‘What a ducky 
little baby!’ ‘The woman likes them 
[Shetland pomes] because they are 
“cunning”; she likes to pet and 
fondle them.’ Applied to things, 
canning == dainty or dinky. ‘The 
funniest and cunmngest of little 
jointed china dolls.’ ‘The students 
munch cunning little tea cakes while 
the instructor lectures.’ J. H. Choate 
reports George Meredith as living in 
‘a cunning little cottage’ (E. S. 
Mahtin, Life of J. H. Choate, ii. 192). 
See CUTE. 

cup. In Am. cooking recipes cup is 
a definite* measure, denoting half an 
Am. PINT. 

curve. ‘Mr. Dooley’, in writing of 
a certain Am. Secretary of War whose 
policies were difficult to understand, 
remarks that people were unable to 
get on to his curves. This use of 
cuwe is a metaphor from baseball, 
where, acc. to the Century Diet, it 
denotes ‘the course of a ball so 
pitched that it does not pass in a 
straight line from the pitcher to the 
catcher, but makes a deflection in 
the air other than the ordinary one 
caused by the force of gravity’. 

custom. In Am. custom clothes are 
clothes made to measure; i.e. for in- 
dividual customers. Hence Am. 
custom suit == Eng. bespoke suit 
‘Our custom department will make 
to order any special style which may 
be desired’ (Advt.). ‘As perfect- 
fitting as the finest custom garments’ 
(Advt.). ‘When this toiler set up his 
little shop over 30 years ago, custom 
shoemaking was a fine trade, and no 
man of standmg would wear ready- 
made shoes or boots.’ ‘Custom 
tailoring requires a higher grade of 
skill than the manufacturing of ready- 
made clothing’ (Dr. I. A. Houbwich, 
Immigration and Labor, 368). ‘Cus- 
tom and repairing work is still done 
in the little tailoring and shoemaking 
shops that speak a sort of defiance 
to the great emporiums’ (W. J. 
Ghent, Our Benevolent Feudalism, 

19). ‘The straining pockets of his 
custom-made trousers’ (Florence 
Converse, Efficiency Expert, 35). 

cut. ^Iiln Am. the verb cut = Eng. 
reduce and the noun cut = Eng. re- 
duction. ‘In 1912 there were 600 
deaths and 15,000 injuries among 
railroad employees due to falls foom 
cars. Ten years later these figures 
had been cut to 66 deaths and 5,566 
injuries’ (F. J. Haskin, The Am. 
Government, 387). ‘He kept cutting 
his price and increasing his sales’ 
(L. Steffens, Autobiog. 853). ‘Presi- 
dent Taft informed his Cabinet 
officers, after scrutinizing the final 
draft of estimates, that there must be 
a further and deeper cut in them.’ 
‘Cut in Courses at Harvard’ is the 
heading of a newspaper article giving 
particulars of a reduction in the 
number of college courses. 

In the vocab. of Am. railways, cut = 
Eng. cutting. ‘The high winds blow 
the snow back into the cuts.’ ‘Al- 
though the new four-track system 
through Bergen Hill has been spoken 
of as an open cut, it is not strictly 
such, as It contains four short 

In Eng. one may speak of a cut from 
the joint. In Am. cut may denote the 
jomt itself. ‘Our bill at the butcher- 
shop in town dropped as Lenore 
learned how to make cheap cuts of 
meat palatable and tender.’ 

In politics, to cut a ticket (q.v.) is 
to vote for some candidates on the 
ticket and reject others. The candi- 
dates thus rejected are also said to be 
cut. ‘In the country towns the Re- 
publicans are not cutting their State 
ticket in any particular, but are 
making changes on the county 
ticket.’ ‘Information received indi- 
cated that the Rep. nominee for 
Governor was being cut by the farmers 
on account of his policy while cattle 

Am. cut-off — Eng. by-pass, short 
cut. ‘The Chatsford Park cut-off will 
afford an easier and shorter route to 
Santa Barbara.’ ‘Lovell ordered me 




forward to notice the trail and course, 
as the latter was a cut-off and much 
nearer than by road’ (Andy Adams, 
The Outlet, 332). 

In Am., land from which timber has 
been cleared is described as cuUover, 
‘Expansion of the agricultural area 
has been promoted by encouraging 
the settlement of cut-over farm 
lands’ (C. M. Clay, The Mainstay of 
Am. Individualism, 210). ‘He had a 
plan for getting the soldiers back to 
the soil by assisting them to procure 
tracts of cut-over land’ (Diet. Am. 
Biog. xiv. 536). 

In Am. cutter may denote not only 
a vessel but a light sleigh, usually 
drawn by a single horse. ‘ Jack Finch 
was awakened by his stableman at 
5 o’clock, and informed that there 
was enough snow on the ground to 
carry a cutter.’ ‘The snow was stiU 
fallmg thickly when Orrin Bosworth 
drove up in his cutter to Saul Rout- 
ledge’s gate’ (E. Wharton, Here and 
Beyond, 79). 

cute, an abbreviation of acutCf is 
used in Am. not only with the normal 
meaning of that word but as a syno- 
nym of the Am. cunning (q.v.). 
‘The cutest thing of human kind is 
the papoose’. ‘Babies’ cute little 
black, white or red slippers.’ When 
the heroine of ‘ Gentiemen Prefer 
Blondes’ lunches at the Ritz, she 
sees ‘a quite cute little girl’ at the 
aext table, and when she goes shop- 
Ing she buys ‘some quite cute hats’. 

cycler. In Am. the form cycler is 
preferred to cyclist^ and, accordingly, 
bicycler to bicyclist and tricycler to 
IricyclisL ‘Cyclers Started in Six 
Days’ Contest’ (newspaper headline). 
The appearance of bicyclers for the 
irst act’ (H. A. Franck, Vagabond 
Tourney, 283). ‘ The small boys of the 
iity are wont to call out to a stray 
Dicycler’ (R. S. and H- M. Lynd, 
Vliddletown, 283). The late Joseph 
Pennell once wrote to the N.Y. 
Nation (vol. 48, p. 97) to protest 
igainst its use of cyclist, ‘an almost 
mpronounceable and certainly point- 

less term’, mstead of the. Am. word 
cycler. An editorial note referred him 
to KVKXi^ta, on the analogy of botanist 
from jSoTavtJo), and added: ‘Patriot- 
ism has nothing to do with building 
words correctly from the Greek.’ 

cyclone. The Am. cyclone cellar — 
a cave or hole in the ground which 
affords a place of refiige from a cy- 
clone — blends itself easily to fig. uses. 
‘The Senate is the stronghold of 
wealth, the trusts, the railroads, the 
tariff, and privilege generally. It is 
important that these interests should 
have a stronghold somewhere, these 
windy days. The Senate is their 
cyclone cellar; they are safe there.’ 
‘Prices boomeranged [at the out- 
break of war in 1914] while gold, the 
international common denominator, 
fled to the cyclone cellars, leaving 
foreign exchange to ricochet around 
the globe’ (The Mirrors of Wall 
Street, 43). An alternative, in less 
ffequent use, is tornado cellar. 


dandy. In Am. the equivalent of 
the Eng. vulgarism, treat. ‘ That fresh- 
man race yesterday was a “dandy”. 
Everybody who saw it says it was 
one of the liveliest struggles New 
London ever saw.’ 

Also used as an adj. « Eng. tip-top, 
first-rate. *A few days ago I over- 
heard one man telling another that 
he had just given his mother-in-law 
“a dandy funeral”.’ ‘The special 
agent is chosen because he has proved 
hSnself to be a “dandy salesman”.’ 
Cleveland Moffett (Careers of Danger 
and Daring, 235) quotes one fireman 
as saying of another: ‘He’s a wonder, 
sir; he’s the dandiest man. Say, did 
ye ever hear how he crawled under 
that blazing naphtha tank and got 
a man out who was in there imcon- 
scious?’ ‘Most farmers have a much 
wider choice of food than we have 




mentioned, but even those who are 
limited in their selection can have 
dandy food’ (Dr. R. L. Alsaker, 
Eating for Health and Efficiency, j 
425). A somewhat similar use of the | 
word is reported by Wright’s Dial. | 
Diet from Scotland, where it means 
fine, gay, showy, flashy. 

dark horse. In the vocab. of Am. 
politics this term, borrowed from the 
race-course, has a spec, meaning. It 
denotes a candidate for the Presi- 
dential nomination, at a national 
party convention, who is not widely 
known throughout the country and 
has little chance of being nomi- 
nated except to settle a deadlock 
when no favoxtrite (q.v.) can secure 
a majority. Garfield in 1880 and 
Harrison in 1888 were examples. 
Garfield’s name was not brought for- 
ward until the 31st ballot (q.v.), 
when he received one vote. He was 
nominated on the 36th with 399 votes. 
Harrison was fifth in order on the 
first ballot, with only 80 votes to 
Sherman’s 229. He was nominated 
on the eighth with 544. 

data. In Am. this plural is often 
treated even by educated writers and 
speakers as a singular. In Eng. such 
misuse of the word is considered a 
solecism. *No provision was made 
for the publication of this data’ 
(F, J. Haskin, The Am. Government, 
159). ‘The classification of this data 
is a great task’ (Prof. C. McCarthy, 
The Wisconsin Idea, 245). *I went 
over the data which Houston had 
prepared, and added to it and elimi- 
nated from it whatever seemed neces- 
sary. This data was afterwards given 
to Governor Wilson, who based his 
tariff speeches largely on it’ (Intimate 
Papers of Col. House, i. 49). 

The word sometimes ~ facts or news, 
without any suggestion that this in- 
formation is to be the basis of an 
argument or calculation. * Sun Square 
Apparatus Ready to Announce Con- 
vention Data’ (Newspaper headline). 
‘He also collected all data relating 
to the early Swedish settlers of 

Pennsylvania, as well as any material 
concerning the development of the 
state’ (Dr. A. S. W. Rosenbach, 
Books and Bidders, 8). 

date, fin Am. date is frequently 
used to denote an appointment or 
engagement for a certain time. *Mr. 
Bryan is going to Europe partly on 
business and partly for pleasure. He 
denied that he has any “dates” with 
any of the crowned heads of Europe.’ 
‘The cruiser Minneapolis made three 
“dates” to sail before she got away.’ 
‘So little suspicious were we still that 
we even made a date to meet our 
Hamburg friends late that August of 
1914’ (F. J. Stimson, My U.S. 222). , 

Hence dateless «= without social cn- 
gagements, ‘The young men at 
Northwestern University have agreed 
to join the young women of thaX 
institution in observing three date- 
less nights each week. The action 
was taken by representatives of 
fraternities and various other groups, 
mainly in the interest of men students 
working their way through college j 
who are not able financially to engage ) 
in intensive social life.’ 

The Am. expression without date = 
sine die. ‘The World Economic Con- 
ference, at London, recessed without 
date’ (N.Y. World Almanac for 1934, 

davenport. In Eng. a kind of desk 
or escritoire; in Am. also a kind of 
couch or divan. 

day* An Am. idiom is the omission , 
of the before day after, day before, i 
‘Day after election, people will want ' 
to know etc.’ ‘Day before yesterday 
the President was again in a state of 
terrific determination.’ ‘I am to take 
up what we need day alter to-morrow’ 
(Ruth Hall, The Pine Grove House, 

daylight. What ii called summer 
time in Eng. is known in Am, as day- 
light samng time. The originator of 
the scheme, the late William Willett, 
used the term daylight samng time, 
but the law adopting his plan was 




called a Summer Time Act, and 
summer time thus came to be the 
term in general use in Eng. The Am. 
term is obviously preferable, as it indi- 
cates more precisely the purpose of the 
change of reckoning. It also avoids 
the absurdity of applying the name of 
summer time to a bitterly cold April 

deacon has a peculiar use in Am., 
where the name is given to the skin 
of a newly-born calf. It must weigh 
less than 8 Ib. ‘Last year I sold 
deacon hides for 85 cents.’ 

dead. The Am. compound deadfall 
denotes a trap for large game, so 
contrived that a heavy weight falls 
upon the prey. The term is often 
used fig. ‘He might be on the lecture 
platform in Am. — ^that deadfall for 
more than one great doer.’ ‘ “ There’s 
a deadfall down here on the river”, 
said he, “that robs a man going and 
coming. They’ve got booze to sell 
you that would make a pet rabbit 
fight a wolf”’ (Andy Adajvis, Log 
of a Cowboy, 251). 

deal has a spec, meaning in Am. 
politics. ‘In very highly organized 
political parties, the stock voter will 
accept the orders of his suzerain to 
vote against his party. This makes 
possible the political deal, which 
means that the heads of rival parties 
agree each to support some of the 
candidates of the other’s ticket, thus 
rendering the election of the least 
desirable men almost a certainty’ 
(Prof. A. B. Hart, Actual Govern- 
ment, 100). ‘There had been deals 
and counterdeals between Tammany 
and anti-Tammany Democrats’ (H. F. 
pRXNGXiE, Theodore Roosevelt, 66). 

It is, of course, by no means in this 
sense that the term New Deal is 
applied to Pres. Franklin Roosevelt’s 
policies. He has himself endorsed the 
suggestion that it ‘expresses a satis- 
factory combination of the Square 
Deal and the New Freedom’ (On our 
Way, x). 

dear* The observant Prof. F^lix 


Boillot has noted (Le Vrai Ami du 
Tradueteur, 97) that in Am. the 
formula ‘ My dear Mr. So-and-so ’ is less 
familiar than ‘Dear Mr. So-and-so’, 
while in Bng. it is quite the contrary. 

debenture. The difference between 
the Eng. and the Am. use of this term 
may be understood from the follow- 
ing quotations. ‘ In general, the term 
debenture in British usage designates 
any security issued by companies 
other than their shares, including 
therefore what are in the U.S. com- 
monly called bonds. When used in 
the U.S., debenture generally desig- 
nates an instrument secured by a 
floating charge lunior to other charges 
secured by fixed mortgages, or, 
specifically, one of a senes of securities 
secured by a group of securities held 
in trust for the benefit of the deben- 
ture holders* (Webster’s Diet.). ‘The 
term debenture is commonly used in 
Great Britain to designate all classes 
of certificates or written instruments 
issued under seal and evidencing in- 
debtedness of companies (i.e. corpora- 
tions). Its Eng. use is thus largely 
eqmvalent to the word bond in the 
U.S., where debenture is ordinarily 
restricted to certificates of corporate 
obligations having no special secunty 
such as mortgage, lien, or assignment 
of property. The common British 
expression, debenture stock, designates 
“borrowed capital consolidated into 
one mass for the sake of convenience ”, 
and partakes somewhat of the nature 
of preferred stock’ (Encycl. of the 
Social Sciences, v. 29). The same 
authority adds that it is only since 
1900 that debenture has come into 
general use in Am. to designate im- 
secured corporate obligations, 

decedent. In Am. this term, now 
obs. in Eng., is commonly preferred 
to deceased ‘The Mercantile Trust 
Co. is to act as executor and trustee, 
and IS to hold all the estate in trust 
for the decedent’s daughter.’ ‘The 
taxation of the estates of decedents’ 
(Prof. R. T, Ely, Evolution of In- 
dustrial Society, 273). 




deck. In Shakespeare’s day, a pack 
of cards was called a deck, 

‘But, whiles he thought to steal the 
single ten, 

The king was slily fingered from the 
deck’ (3 Henry VI, v. 1). 

This use of the word, long obs. in 
Eng., survives in Am. ‘The doctor 
prescribes a sea voyage, a pipe of 
tobacco, a flask of whisky, a deck of 
cards, and a few assorted detective 

declination. In Eng. this term is 
obs, exc. in the scientific sense. In 
Am. it non-acceptance or refmal, 
‘One of the most remarkable situa- 
tions in the political history of the 
city has been precipitated by the 
declination of every one of the eight 
candidates placed in nomination for 
the city ofiiccs at the recent Dem. 
city convention.’ ‘The letter con- 
tains a respectful but firm declination 
to attempt to make good in the office 
in which George III had so recently 
failed’ (Prof. D. S. Muzzey, The Am. 
Adventure, i. 129). ‘More than one 
Scottish constituency requested Car- 
negie to stand for Parliament — all of 
wmch advances he met with the 
usual declination’ (B. J. Henubick, 
The Life of Andrew Carnegie, 280). 

decoration. Becoration Day is an 
alternative term for Memorial Day, 
an annual commemoration of the 
soldiers who fell in the Am. Civil War. 
It derives its name from the practice, 
on this day, of placing flowers on their 
graves. Acc. to the World Aim,, it is 
observed on March 30 in all States 
and possessions exc. five of the 
Southern States. ‘Although Decora- 
tion Day is a legal holiday through- 
out the country, it is becoming a &iy 
more and more of baseball games and 
less of memorial observance.’ ‘Each 
year I spent six weeks with my 
grandparents, three in the spring 
taking in Decoration Day’ (Alice 
Roosevelt Longwobth, Crowded 
Hours, 9). 

dedicate. In Am. the use of this 

word, in connexion with the formal 
opening of buildings, &c., is not 
restricted, as in Eng., to religious 
ceremonies. ‘The beautiful Goodwm 
Memorial Library building was dedi- 
cated yesteiday by appropriate and 
inspiring exercises.’ ‘The Massa- 
chusetts Talc Company’s new mill 
was dedicated Friday evening with 
a concert and ball.’ ‘On Tuesday 
afternoon the great Wanamaker store 
was formally dedicated, and the 
Secretary of the Treasury made the 
opening address.’ ‘The Chicago 
Board of Trade had recently dedi- 
cated its new $2,000,000 building’ 
(L. Adamic, Dynamite, 65). If Eng. 
publications had been reporting such 
events, they would have used opened 
instead of dedicated, 

degree. In Am, murders are classi- 
fied in two degrees. Murder in the 
first degree is an unlawful, intentional, 
and premeditated homicide, or homi- 
cide resulting from the commission, 
or attempted commission, of one of 
the graver crimes, such as arson, 
burglary, or rape. Murder in the 
second ^gree is such a homicide with- 
out premeditation, or resulting from 
the attempt to commit some lesser 
crime, ‘It is the general opinion 
among those who have followed the 
case closely that a verdict of murder 
in either the first or second degree 
will be returned.’ 

Degrees are similarly recognized 
officially in certain other crimes. ‘He 
pleaded guilty to burglary in the 
third degree in stealing several articles 
from the home of Ms father and 
brother. He previously pleaded 
guilty to forgery in the second degree.’ 

The third degree is a system of pres- 
sure applied by the police in order to 
extract confessions from persons in 
custody. ‘He was at first arrested 
merely as a suspicious person, but 
when put through the “third degree” 
at the station, the detectives say, 
admitted that he entered the house 
last night.’ ‘After being taken to 
Police Headquarters last night the 




“third degree” was given the prisoner, 
and under this strain Hunt broke 
down and made a confession.’ This"* 
third degree, apparently, itself per- 
mits of gradations. Writing in the 
Atlantic Monthly of Sept. 1931, E. J. 
Hopkins, who had just been m- 
vestigating Am. police methods for 
the Wickersham Commission, said: 
‘If the term “third degree” be ap- 
plied only to cruel and abnormal 
forms and grades of torture, plenty 
of cases can be cited, but still they 
are exceptional. If it be taken to 
include any use of physical violence 
to make a man confess — ^slaps, 
shoves, blows, lacks, beatings with 
soft weapons or with hard, — it is 
absent from a few cities, occasional 
in many, and current custom in the 
two largest. If it be taken also to 
cover threats, lies, display of weapons, 
exhausting grilling, and the like, it is 
the exceptional Am. city where it does 
not exist. If it be interpreted to refer 
— ^as I think it should — to the secret 
police inquisition of whatever type 
where the demand is made that the 
arrested person incriminate himself, 
and the 5th Amendment is thereby 
breached, then the third degree is all 
but universal.’ It has been suggested 
that the use of this term derives from 
the degrees in the initiation of Free- 

delegation, in the sense of body of 
delegates, is spec, used of a group of 
members of Congress representing a 
particular State. ‘The entire delega- 
tion from Texas, including the newly 
elected representative from the 5th 
District, were behind Mills’ candidacy 
[for the Speakership of the House]’ 
(S. H. Acheson, Joe Bailey, 45). 

This word also takes the place of the 
Eng. deputation* ‘Near the end of 
the month a delegation was sent to 
Washington [from N.Y. bankers] to 
ask the secretary for a more effective 
form of rdief’ (Dr. M. G. Myers, 
The N.Y. Money Market, i. 189). 

delinquent may be applied in Am. 
not only to the person who offends 

but to the matter in regard to which 
* he is delinquent. ‘An examination of 
the public records discloses the fact 
I that in the city of O’Neill there is 
> delmquent real estate taxes to the 
amount of more than $80,000. In 
many cases the property is not worth 
as much as the delmquent taxes 
against it.’ ‘The number of forced 
sales resulting from the foreclosure 
of mortgages, bankruptcies, and 
delinquent taxes showed an increase 
of 25 per cent.’ (W. Lxppjmann, The 
U.S. in World Affairs in 1932, 6). 

democracy, democrat* In Am. the 
Democracy (with a capital initial) is 
often used as a synonym for the 
Democratic party* ‘Reports of dis- 
sensions in the Nebraslm Democracy 
are incorrect.’ ‘The answer of Mis- 
souri will be national, almost racial, 
in importance. Both the Democracy 
and the democracy are being put to 
the test out there.’ ‘The main feud 
within the Democracy itself raged 
between the Carter H. Harrison 
forces and the Sulhvanites’ (Dr. H. 
Zink, City Bosses in U.S. 296). ‘The 
Democratic resolutions committee 
had written a straightforward revenue- 
tariff plank into the Democracy’s 
platform in 1892’ (L. M. Hacker and 
B. B. Kendrick, The U.S. since 
1865, 95). 

Eng. papers sometimes refer to ‘the 
Democrat party’, ‘the Democrat 
candidate’, &c. In Am, the word 
Democrat is never an adj. but always 
a noun. The adj. applied to the party, 
its candidates, its tickets, &c., is 
invariably Democratic* 

A democrat wagon has nothing to 
do with politics. The Century Diet* 
defines it as ‘a light wagon without 
a top, containing several seats and 
usually drawn by two horses’, and 
adds that it was originally called a 
democratic wagon* ‘This morning, 
going for a walk before breakfast, one 
met a democrat wagon coming in. 
On the driving seat were the pros- 
perous farmer and his young lady 
daughter; and in place of the rear 




seat there was a tethered calf.’ ‘In 
the course of my boyhood the buggy 
and the veiy convenient democrat 
wagon, turned out by factories, came 
into general use’ (W. W. Folwell, 
Autobiog. 23). Sometimes the word 
wagon IS omitted. ‘On one such 
occasion he drove a covered three- 
seated democrat’ (W. R. Moody, 
D. L. Moody, 474). 

denominational is often used by 
members of the Protestant Episcopal 
Church as a collective term for other 
Protestant Churches — i.e. those corre- 
sponding to the Free or Noncon- 
formist Churches in Eng. ‘The results 
which have been obtained by many of 
the denominational churches in this 
country.’ ‘The apparent ignorance 
of our clergy concerning general reli- 
gious conditions and movements upon 
which their denominational brethren 
were well-informed.’ Both these ex- 
tracts are from the N.Y. Churchman^ 
an organ of the P.E. Church, 

department. In Am. this term 
denotes not, as m Eng., a subdivision 
of one of the great offices of state 
(e.g, the Bankruptcy Department of 
the Board of Trade or the Factory 
Department of the Home Office) but 
one of the mam divisions of the 
Federal Administration, whose heads 
constitute the President’s Cabinet. 
Thus, the Constitution of 1789 
authorizes the President to ‘require 
the opinion, in writing, of the princi- 
pal officer in each of the executive 
departments’ and authorizes Con- 
gress to vest the appointment of 
inferior officers ‘in the heads of 
departments’. At present these de- 
partments consist of the Department 
of State, the Treasury Department, 
the War Department, the Depart- 
ment of Justice, the Post Office De- 
partment, the Navy Department, the 
Department of the Interior, the 
Department of Agriculture, the De- 
partment of Commerce, and the 
Department of Labor. See bureau. 
The term (kpartment store^ now 
familiar m Eng., is of Am. ori^. 

depositary, depository. This word 
has a spec, meaning m the Am. 
banking system. ‘The National Bank 
Act provided that public revenue, 
exe. customs dues, might be deposited 
in national banks. For 80 years such 
deposits were considered as an ex- 
ceptional expedient to be used only 
in emergencies. But as its business 
grew, it became more and more 
necessary for the Government to 
avail Itself of them, and the result 
was a fully developed system of 
regular and special national bank 
depositaries for all Government 
revenue’ (B. H. Beckhart, The N.Y. 
Money Market, iv. 186). ‘Under this 
scheme, the Government was to dis- 
continue using banks as depositories 
and was to establish subtreasury 
offices in connection with the ware- 
houses’ (Prof. E, S. Sparks, Agricul- 
tural Credit in U.S. 143). 

Another kind of Government de- 
pository IS described as follows. ‘The 
publications of the Government 
Printing Office are regularly sent to 
many libraries where the general 
public reads. By special act members 
of Congress are empowered to desig- 
nate certain institutions m their 
respective districts as “depositories”. 
Such libraries are entitled to receive 
automatically all issues from the 
federal press without charge other 
than transportation costs’ (C. A, and 
W. Beard, The Am. Leviathan, 636). 

depot was once the ordinary term 
for a railway station in Am., but this 
usage is now largely obs. William 
Dean Howells, writing in Harper^s 
Monthly, Nov. 1906, of a visit to 
Eng., says: ‘Even the wood-built 
stations we whisked by had a charm 
because they were like the clap- 
boarded depots, freight and passen- 
ger, at our rustic junctions,’ The 
Depot Street of some small Am. towns 
corresponds to the Eng. Station Hoad, 

. deputy is often to be understood in 
Am. as an abbrev. of deputy sheriff, 
(See SHERIFF.) ‘Then the superinten- 




dent of Smuggler-Union mines opened 
a mine with scabs, most of whom 
were armed and sworn in as deputies’ 
(L. Adamic, Dynamite, 138). ‘The 
sheriff of Allegheny County appeared 
at the works with 120 deputies, and 
was met by a mob of strikers’ (B. J. 
Hendrick, Life of Andrew Carnegie, 

derby. For some unknown reason 
the town of Derby has given its name 
to derby hat or derby ^ the Am. term 
for a hosier. The word is pronounced 
as spelt, not darby, ‘Our derbies are 
as comfortable as the soft hats’ 
(Advt.). ‘The earliest arrival was 
John Burns, who was dressed in his 
customary reefer jacket and derby 
hat.’ ‘The stiff derby hat always 
stands on the top of their large egg- 
shaped heads’ (K. Bercovici, Around 
the World in N.Y. 29). ‘He looks 
very compact, decent and well satis- 
fied in his dark coat and black derby’ 
(B. Wilson, The Am. Jitters, 134). 

derelict. The Am. use of this word 
IS a linguistic curiosity. It is pro- 
perly a passive participle, and is 
invariably so used in Eng. Somehow 
or other it has become active in Am., 
where it is applied not to a person 
who has been abandoned but one 
who has abandoned ; i.e. not a derelict^ 
correctly speaking, but a delinquent. 
Thus, m a letter of Sept. 12, 1904, 
formally accepting nomination to 
the Presidency, Theodore Roosevelt 
wrote: ‘I shoiild be derelict in my 
duty if I used a false construction of 
the Constitution as a shield for weak- 
ness or timidity.’ Properly, of course, 
it would be the duty itself, not Mr. 
Roosevelt, that would be derelict in 
such a case. In a letter quoted in 
Thayer’s biography of him (ii. 225) 
John Hay writes: ‘Various other 
gentlemen think that we are derelict 
in our duty in having got a whole 
loaf and not having demanded two.’ 
When the word is thus used by 
writers like Roosevelt and Hay, it 
is not surprising to find the same 
solecism m the newspapers. ‘The 

police authonties may have seemed 
to be derelict because of their appar- 
ent inactivity.’ ‘General Stakelberg 
was therefore justified in making the 
fight — ^he would have been derelict 
in not doing so.’ ‘ It is clear that the 
Rapid Transit Commission was dere- 
lict when it approved the clauses in 

It is true that in Eng. dereliction is 
used as a synonym of &l%nquency, but 
that IS quite a different matter. For 
derehehon is not a passive participle, 
as derelict is, but a verbal noun with 
an active signification. Accordingly, 
guilty of dereliction is as legitimate as 
guilty of assassination or defamation 
or malefaction or seduction. Thus 
dereliction = delinquency, just as ab- 
stention = abstinence, 

desk. For a specialized Am. use of 
this word, see the first of the following 
quotations. ‘Now, “desk” in a news- 
paper office is a generic name for a 
department that edits copy. It does 
not imply that the rest of the staff 
wnte on their knees.’ ‘The reporters 
who write up the sensational event — 
each one is hoping to attract the 
attention of the “desk”’ (Upton 
Sinclair, Money Writes, 18). ‘For 
a time he was in complete editorial 
charge, but m 1857 he sold out his 
financial interest and ceased to hold 
a regular desk position, though he 
continued as a contributor’ (Diet. 
Am. Biog. IX. 147). An Am, book 
entitled Newspaper Desk Work is a 
manual for the sub-editor. What in 
Eng. is called the office copy of a book 
is in Am. the desk copy. 

In Am. desk secretary denotes a 
secretary whose duties lie whoUy 
within the office, as distinct from a 


dessert denotes in Eng. the uncooked 
fpuit, nuts, &c., served at the end of 
a dinner. In Am. it includes the course 
of pies, puddings, &e., corresponding 
to what in Eng. is known as the sweet 
course. Senator William Maelay, in an 
entry in his Journal dated Aug. 27, 
1789, desenbes a dinner given by 




President Washington at the White 
House, at which ‘the dessert was, first 
apple-pies, pudding, etc.; then iced 
creams, jellies, etc.; then water- 
melons, musk-melons, apples, peaches, 
nuts’. ‘Sweet-potato pie is a favorite 
Southern dessert.’ ‘The dessert 
which he preferred was a plain rice 
pudding’ (H. CaoLY, Life of Senator 
Hanna, 447). The word may he used 
in Am. in the plur. ‘Desserts should 
not be eaten every day, but when 
they are taken they should be rather 
plain, such as gelatine, fruit gelatine, 
custard, fruit either cooked or raw, 
fruit whip, plain cake like sponge 
cake, and ice cream’ (Dr. K. L. , 
Axsaker, Eating for Health and 
Efficiency, 61). ‘The average cook 
spends her time in making cakes and 
desserts’ (A. C. Arnold, The Triangle 
of Health, 120). 

The discrepancy between the Eng. 
and the Am. idiom seems to depend 
upon a difference in point of view as 
to what should be considered the 
final course of the dinner. The word 
is denved from the French desservir 
=« to remove what has been served^ to 
clear the tMe. Hence if you regard 
the sweets as the last course, you will 
call this course the dessert^ as they 
do m Am. 

Oddly enough, dessert spoon is the 
name given in Eng., as well as in 
Am., to an implement which is of 
service in dealing with dessert in the 
Am. sense only, 

detail. In the sense of a small body 
of men detached for a particular 
service, the use of detail is in Eng, con- 
fined to the army. In Am. it may 
also be used of police, or even of the 
staff of a newspaper, ‘A detail of 
police managed to break openings for 
the slow passage of the cars.’ ‘The 
Tribune had four details of men at 
North Brother Island the day of the 

develop. A peculiar Am. use of 
develop — ^which may be found in Jane 
Austen but is now obs. in Eng. — ^is 
in the senses of (1) bring to light 

and (2) come to light, transpire, 
(1) ‘Day in and day out he bombarded 
Hamilton and Wolcott with demands 
for accounting after accounting, ex- 
planation after explanation. He did 
develop the fact that enormous lump 
sum appropriations had been made’ 
(Prof. T. J. Grayson, Leaders and 
Periods of Am. Finance, 95). (2) 
‘It developed to-day that the com- 
mercial vehicle show is to be a com- 
plimentary event.’ ‘Through a further 
exchange of notes, it developed that 
the minister’s notification was based 
on an assumption rather than on 
information’ (L. F. Hill, Diplomatic 
Relations between U.S. and Brazil, 22). 

devil(t)ry. In Am., as in Scottish 
dial., devilry has acquired an un- 
necessary i, so that it appears as 
deviltry, ‘She was abetted in all her 
deviltry by her mother.’ ‘Moved by 
a spirit of pure deviltry’ (K. 
Porter, John Jacob Astor, 1056). 
‘Indulging in wilful deviltry of all 
sorts’ (Dr. L. N. Richardson, Hist, 
of Early Am. Magazines, 188). 

Similarly daredevilry has become 
daredeviltry. ‘The automobile will 
have to be rescued from the dare- 
deviltry and carelessness which too 
often sit in control of the machme’s 
operations.’ ‘The boats were wood 
burners, and they were operated with 
the utmost daredeviltry’ (Prof. T. J. 
Grayson, Leaders and Periods of 
Am. Finance, 813). 

diamond is used in Am. to denote 
a baseball field, corresponding to the 
football GRIDIRON. Acc. to the base- 
ball glossary in the 14th edition of the 
JEncycl, Britann,, it may mean ‘either 
all the field or the field between bases, 
more generally the latter’. ‘The ideal 
of the growing lad is often found in the 
hero of the gridiron or the diamond.’ 
‘Their baseball teams battle on its 
diamonds’ (H. Justin Smith, Chicago 
89). ‘Though he became one of the 
ftimous ball players of his time, Miller 
Huggins was very small in comparison 
with his rivals on the diamond’ 
(Diet. Am. Biog. ix. 846). 




The State of Delaware is sometimes 
called the Diamond State, 

diction. In 1930 the Am. Academy 
of Arts and Letters awarded a gold 
medal for diction. To an author or 
orator? No ; to an actor. For in Am. 
diction has somehow or other — 
possibly through French influence — 
come to be a matter of utterance 
rather than of literary or oratorical 
style. The Atlantic Monthly of Feb. 
1931 publishes the speech given by 
George Arliss when this medal was 
presented to him. ‘ There is no doubt 
he says, ‘that good diction is far too 
rare. By “diction” I mean the 
speaking of words correctly and easily. 
. . . The value of the talking screen m 
the improvement of the diction of 
the masses cannot be overestimated. 
Not that the masses would go to the 
movies to learn how to speak; but 
young people are inclined to be very 
imitative, particularly of those actors 
and actresses whom they especially 
admire,’ In Eng. enunciation or 
elocution would be used in this sense. 

The word is also used in Am. in the 
normal Eng. sense. ‘Fineness of 
style, esp. in the choice and disposi- 
tion of words and in the harmonies of 
diction’ (H. S. Canby, Better Writ- 
ing, 6C). Possibly the two senses are 
combined in the following: ‘Two 
seminanes have stretched their de- 
partment of practical theology to 
include courses m microphone diction’ 
(Prof. M, A. May, The Education of 
Am. Ministers, iii. 41). 

different. fM. F^lix Boillot (Le 
Vrai Ami du Traducteur, 103) men- 
tions that in a London ‘Tube’ he 
has seen an advt.: ‘The wall papers 
that are different.’ This, he explains, 
does not mean that no two of these 
papers are alike, but that these wall 
papers are not like other wall papers. 
As yet this peculiar use of different is 
not frequent in Eng., but it may often 
be met with in an Am. advt., as an 
alternative to exclusive (q.v.), or to 

In Am. different than sometimes 

takes the place of different from, ‘I 
can’t see why a Negro should be any 
different than any other man about 
all that.’ ‘The problems affecting the 
Am. resident Chinese and Japanese 
are much different than those existing 
in 1900’ (Prof. E. G. Meaes, Resident 
Onentals on the Am. Pacific Coast, lii). 
‘A sample of preelection sentiment 
derived from tabloid readers would 
doubtless give very different results 
than a sample taken from the readers 
of the N.y. Times’ (C. E. Robinson, 
Straw Votes, 90). The 0,E,D, quotes 
examples of different than from Gold- 
smith, J. H. Newman, and other Eng. 
writers, but says that the usual con- 
struction in Eng. is now different from, 

dipper is rarely used in Eng. in its 
common Am. sense of a sort of ladle, 
mainly used, as its name implies, for 
dipping up liquids. It has a larger 
bowl than the ordinary ladle. ‘ I lean 
forward in the saddle to take the 
proffered dipper of cool spring water.’ 
‘She left the dipper on the kitchen 
shelf instead of hanging it up over the 
pail’ (K. D. WiGGiN, Rebecca, 64). 
‘The quiet life of the town drowsing 
about its courthouse square with its 
w'ooden pump and iron dippers’ 
(R. S. and H. M. Lynd, Middletown, 

The Dipper^ Big Dipper, or Great 
Dipper is the Am. name for the 
Great Bear, ‘A child was asked if she 
had ever seen the Great Dipper. “ Oh, 
yes,” she replied, “I saw it in my 
geography,” This is better than not 
to have seen it at all; but the proper 
place to have seen it is in the heavens.’ 
‘The deep northern sky where the 
Dipper gleamed faintly through the 
haze of heat that rose from the city’ 
(W. P. Eaton and E. M. Underhill, 
Runaway Place, 235). ‘In 1889 you 
could still discern the Big Dipper in 
the N.Y, sky’ (Julia B. Foraker, 
I Would Live it Again, 168). 

directory. In Eng. = a list of 
residents. In Am. used also in the 
sense of the Eng. directorate, i.e. board 
of directors. ‘Much significance is 




attached to the change made last 
week in the directory ot the Michigan 
Central Railroad Co.’ (There follows 
a list of newly-elected directors.) 
*The Methodist' Protestant Confer- 
ence to-day elected W. B. Usleton to 
the Baltimore Book Directory, in 
place of Daniel Baker, who resigned 
after being elected yesterday, because 
other members of the directory were 
not re-elected.’ ‘The Senator from 
N.Y. was a member of 70 directories, 
which brought him more than 
$50,000 a year in attendance fees 
alone’ (Dr. C. C. Regier, The Era of 
the Muckrakers, 111). 

dirt IS used in Am. in several special 
senses. A dirt farmer is one who is 
not afraid to tackle the disagieeable 
jobs of agriculture, as contrasted 
with one who will not soil his own 
hands with manual labour. ‘The old 
fellow was dressed as a dirt farmer 
or homesteader would be in Ne- 
braska.’ ‘These men bear about the 
same relation to the rank and file of 
the profession that the registrar of 
an agricultural college does to a real 
dirt farmer,’ ‘Old Brack was a 
practical dirt farmer, extracting his 
living from the soil with his own 
hands’ (B. J. Hendrick, Earlier 
Life of Walter H. Page, 46). Less 
frequently dirt farmer denotes an 
agnculturalist as distinct from a 
cattle-breeder. ‘The advance of the 
dirt farmer into the cow country was 
accomplished with much fnction. 
The economic systems of the farmer 
on the one hand and the cattleman on 
the other were diametrically opposite’ 
(Prof. A. E. Martin, Hist, of U.S. 
li. 124). 

Am. dirt floor Eng. earth floor, 
unpaged floor. ‘Three good-sized 
native houses, with thatched roof 
and dirt floor.’ 

A dirt roof is a roof made of turf. 
‘A log cabin of two rooms, with a 
dirt roof.’ 

A dirt road is one that is not mac- 
adamized or otherwise paved. ‘The 
use of tar or oil upon the roads would 

not be possible, most of the highways 
being soft “dirt” roads. To be of any 
practical benefit the road to which 
the oil or tar is applied must be well 
built, smooth, and hard.’ ‘Urban 
progress crept toward the town. The 
dirt roads leading to it were graveled, 
and finally hard-surfaced’ (H. Justin 
Smith, Chicago, 114). In Eng. the 
term dirt road is unknown, though 
dirt track is familiar m connexion 
with motor-cycle racing. 

Am. dirt wagon = Eng. dust-carU 
‘A team of horses attached to a dirt 
wagon became unmanageable on 
Third Avenue.’ 

discard. In Eng. discard is seldom 
used as a noun, except as a technical 
term in card-playing. In Am. the 
noun discard may often be met with, 
apart from that game. ‘ The old hig h 
wheel was relegated to the pile of 
discards at the back of the bicycle 
repairman’s shop.’ It is most com- 
mon in the phrase thrmjo into the 
discard and in similar expressions. 
‘A candidate defeated in a state- wide 
primary is popularly regarded as 
having been thrown into the political 
discard’ (G. W. Pepper, In the 
Senate, 56). ‘Miss Finley’s books are 
among those wluch changing stan- 
dards have thrown into the discard’ 
(Diet. Am. Biog. vi. 390). ‘Congress 
swept lus whole ambitious plan into 
the discard’ (Prof. T. J. Grayson, 
Leaders and Periods of Am. Finance, 

dispensary denotes in Eng. either 
an apothecary’s shop or a charitable 
mstitution where the poor may ob- 
tain medieme and medical advice for 
little or nothing. A special Am. use 
is thus desenbed: ‘The dispensary 
system, or system of state monopoly, 
was to a large degree an Am. adapta- 
tion of the Gothenburg system of 

private monopoly The Gothenburg 

system and the dispensary system 
were alike in that the intention of 
each was to eliminate the element of 
private profit from the sale of liquor. 
. . . Although there had been local 




dispensaries at Athens, Georgia, and 
a few other places, the dispensary 
system as a state measure was first 
put into operation in S. Carolina. , . . 
There was a central state dispensary 
for the wholesale distribution to the 
local dispensaries. The profits of the 
central dispensary were devoted to 
the school fund and those of the local 
dispensaries were divided between 
the municipality and the county. 
Purchasers were required to make 
written application for what they 
bought and the liquor was not to be 
drunk on the premises’ (D. Leigh 
Colvin, Prohibition in U.S. 293). 

dissenter. In Eng. this word is 
used spec, of one who dissents from 
the Church of Eng., esp. a Protestant 
Nonconformist. In Am., where there 
is no established church to dissent 
from, it has the more general mean- 
ing of the Eng. dissentient. ‘With 
two dissenters, the committee re- 
ported against the petition.’ ‘The 
story is told of Justice Holmes that, 
when an admirer brought him a copy 
of his collected dissents to be auto- 
graphed, he picked up his pen some- 
what reluctantly and murmured 
under his breath, “I don’t seek my 
reputation as a dissenter”.’ ‘The 
majority of the Democrats were for 
the use of both gold and silver, and 
the dissenters favored gold’ (M. R. 
Werner, Life of W. J. Bryan, 65). 
‘These incidents shook the faith of 
some of the Boston Scientists, and 
36 dissenters withdrew from the 
organization’ (Diet. Am. Biog. vi. 12). 

district. In Am. the area represented 
by a member of the House of Repre- 
sentatives at Washington is a district, 
or Congressional district. The Eng. 
analogue is a Parliamentary division, 
or, more popularly, a constituency. 
An Eng. district {rural district or urban 
district) has nothing to do with repre- 
sentation in Parliament. It is a 
division of a county, and its local 
affairs are administered by a district 
council. ‘If the Democrats can carry 
17 districts now represented by 

Republicans, while the latter make 
no inroads into the Dem. column, the 
next House will be Dem.’ ‘ Acc. to the 
British law, the Labor Party or any 
other party may nominate a candi- 
date from outside the district in 
which he seeks election. This makes 
it possible for the Labor Party to 
elect most of its national leaders to 
Parliament even if they live in 
London’ (P. Blanshard, Outline of 
tJbie British Labor Movement, 26). 
‘In spite of his cold exterior and 
lack of personal magnetism, he seldom 
had real difficulty in securing his dis- 
trict’s vote for election to the House’ 
(Prof. D. C. Barrett, Greenbacks 
and Specie Payments, 196). 

Hence the verb district — divide into 
constituencies. ‘Before votes can be 
cast, two preliminaries are common — 
districting and registration’ (Prof. 
A. B. Hart, Actual Government, 71). 
Accordingly, the process of redis- 
tricting corresponds to the Eng. re- 
distnbution of seats. ‘The rural ele- 
ments tried to postpone the redis- 
tnetmg that would give the rapidly 
growing city its fair representation’ 
(T. C. Pease, The U.S. 581). 

The constituencies which send mem- 
bers to a State Legislature are also 
called districts. An election district 
(not to be confounded with a Con- 
gressional district) is a smaller divi- 
sion still. ‘No man can become the 
big political man of his newspaper 
unless he begins at the very lowest 
rung of the latter. He must know the 
facts of the election district before he 
can correctly grasp the situation m 
the assembly district.’ A district 
leader is the party head in an assembly 
or election district. ‘One of the 
characteristics of the Tammany 
organization is that the district leader 
takes an interest in his people all the 
year round,’ See also section. 

For the meaning of school district see 
the following quotation. ‘ The smallest 
unit of school administration is the 
school district, which in many states 
has Its own board, raises its own 
taxes, and appoints its own teachers’ 




(Prof. A. B. Hart, Actual Govern- 
ment, 542). See also school. 

The Am. judicial system includes 
a number of Federal district courts — 
at least one in each State, and nearly 
20 in a large State like N.Y. — ^pre- 
sided over by district judges. It is in 
these courts that most Federal cases 
are tried in the first instance. 

For district attorney see attorney. 

tditch. In Eng. the verb ditch means 
provide with ditches. In Am. it also 
means thr<m into the ditch, and hence, 
of railway trains, throw off the line, 
derail. ‘Seven passengers were in- 
jured by the ditching of a passenger 
train near Perry. The train ran into 
a washout while going 40 miles an 
hour.’ The word is also used in a fig. 
sense. ‘The Canadian Liberals felt 
much relieved over the President’s 
veto of the Farmers’ Free List Bill, 
inasmuch as its enactment into law 
would have ditched them in their 
reciprocity campaign,’ ‘Stonewall 
Jackson’s failure to come to Lee’s aid 
on June 20, 1862, nearly ditched 
Lee’s victory.’ 

divide is in Am. sometimes a noim, 
in the sense of watershed. ‘As fair as 
a green valley before the pioneer 
struggling over a divide from a 
desert.’ ‘Upon reaching the divide 
between Beaver Creek and Red River, 
I saw a lot of tents ’ (C. H. Sternberg, 
Life of a Fossil Hunter, 221). ‘The 
great flood disaster, when the Des 
Plaines River, rising in the swell of 
spring, spilled over the divide separat- 
ing it from the Chicago south branch’ 
(H. Justin Smith, Chicago, 38). 

division is in Am. the technical 
term for a section of a railway. ‘After 
having tried a plan for having engines 
haul freight trams through from 
Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, the Penn- 
sylvania has decided that the old way 
of changing locomotives at each 
division was the most economical.’ 
‘When the wrecking train is off duty 
you find it standing on a side track 
at the end of the railroad, if the road 

is a short one; or at some division 
headquarters, if an extensive system.’ 
‘When his friend and patron became 
vice-president of the Pennsylvania 
Railroad in 1859, Andrew succeeded 
him as superintendent of the western 
division’ (Prof. T. J. Grayson, 
Leaders and Periods of Am. Finance, 

For the spec, meaning of a division 
in Congress, where it denotes some- 
thing quite different from a division 
in Parliament, see yea. 

do. On do, as an auxiliary with 
har)e. Dr. H. Bradley says : ‘The use of 
the auxiliary do is correct Eng. only 
when have expresses something occa- 
sional or habitual, not when the 
object is a permanent possession or 
attribute. It is permissible to say, 
“Do you have breakfast at eight?” 
or “We do not have many visitors”; 
but not, “Does she have blue eyes?” 
or “He did not have a good char- 
acter”’ (The Making of English, 71). 
Dr. Bradley adds that this convenient 
distinction in usage seems to be in 
danger of being lost, largely through 
Am. example. Of Am. example there 
is certainly no lack. ‘The business 
of wnting and editing does not have 
such well-defined methods of ap- 
proach.’ ‘It [Chicago] does not have 
the custody of the nation’s governing 
equipment and personnel, nor the 
responsibilities that go with them’ 
(Prof. C. E. Merriam, Chicago, 304). 
‘The groupings of the studies in these 
institutions are entirely different 
from those which prevail in Germany, 
esp. owing to the fact that emphasis 
is laid on the college, which Germany 
does not have ’ (Dr. E. B. Holt’s trans. 
of Mdnsterberg’s The Americans, 
397). ‘Her later works do not have 
the charming spontaneity of her 
romances of the Tennessee moun- 
tains’ (Diet Am. Biog. xiii. 345). 

Am. do up = Eng. do for. ‘Canadian 
interests were seeMng to acquire con- 
trol of the Boston & Maine when his 
foresight and nerve did them up.’ 

docket. In Eng., as a legal term, a 




docket is a register of the judgements 
pronounced by a Court. In i&n. it is 
a list of causes for trial or of the names 
of persons whose causes are pending. 
It thus corresponds to the Eng. cause 
list ‘It had been argued before the 
Supreme Court and restored to the 
docket for re-argument.’ ‘The over- 
crowded docket, and the large num- 
ber of eases which must be heard 
daily, make it virtually impossible 
for the judge to render an intelligent 
decision’ (M. A. Elliott and F. E. 
Merrill, Social Disorganization, 698). 

The verb doclcet is used m a corre- 
sponding sense. ‘Some cases dragged 
on for years. The average pendency 
of eases resulting in cease and desist 
orders was seven months after 
docketing’ (T. C. Blaisdell, The 
Federal Trade Commission, 282). 

doctor. In Am. this honorific title 
is commonly given not only to 
physicians, as in Eng., but to den- 
tists, and sometimes even to drug- 
gists. ‘Dr. . . ., a dentist, has his 
home and office m the rear of the 
burned building.’ ‘Prince Louis of 
Battenberg had an expensive experi- 
ence with Am. dentistry. For work 
on four teeth, extending altogether 
over about twelve hours. Dr. ... of 
N.y. charged him $1,000.’ ‘Dr. . . ., 
one of the oldest druggists of the 
Distnct of Columbia, died yesterday.’ 
‘I secured a situation with Dr. . . ., 
who owned two drug-stores.’ See also 


dodger. In Eng., a person who 
practises dodges. In Am. also a small 
advertising leaflet. ‘Banners do not 
influence these men; dodgers they 
never read; and they make no part 
of cart-tail audiences.’ When a N.Y. 
theatre hung at the foot of its stairs 
a big sign, ‘Positively No Throw- 
aways Allowed’, a newspaper ex- 
plained that a throwaway was ‘a card 
or dodger annoimcing some future 
event, which the promoters are 
anxious to distribute and the manage- 
ment equally anxious not to have 
strewn about the premises’. 

A com dodger is defined by the 
Century Diet, as ‘a kind of cake made 
of the meal of Indian corn and baked 
very hard’. 

doggerel is sometimes used in Am. 
m the plur. ‘Doggerels had been 
written about her’ (The End of The 
World, 126). 

fdoll. The noim doll has given rise 
in Am. to the verb doll wp = Eng. 
dress up to the nines, ‘A dolled-up 
blonde had called at his office’ (E. 
Wilson, The Am. Jitters, 234). 
‘When Juan Schmidt saw the old 
man dolled up with bracelets and 
rings and a red bandanna around his 
neck, he laughed hard’ (H. Cahill, 
in Life m the U.S., 85). 

dollar. The meaning of dxdlar 
diplomacy will be clear from the 
following quotations. ‘With Phil- 
ander C. Knox, secretary of state 
under Taft, was associated the phrase 
“dollar diplomacy” — ^tbe support by 
diplomatic means of concessions to 
Am. capital of rights to exploit 
natural resources’ (T. C. Pease, The 
U.S. 570). ‘In the conduct of foreign 
relations one of Knox’s chief policies 
was the encouragement and protec- 
tion of Am. investments abroad, or 
as it is popularly and somewhat 
opprobnoiisly termed, “dollar diplo- 
macy”’ (Diet. Am. Biog. x, 479). 
‘Coupled with the practice of “dollar 
diplomacy”, that is of using our 
diplomatic service for the purpose of 
promoting loans and other economic 
interests in foreign, and mostly back- 
ward, countries, the theory of protec- 
torates quickly took further tangible 
form’ (J. Truslow Adajms, Hist, 
of the Am. People, li. 308). 

For dollars to dotighnuts, see bough. 

dome. One of the most sensational 
events of President Harding’s ad- 
ministration was what is known as 
the Teapot Dome scandal — ^the secret 
and corrupt leasing to a private 
owner of certain oil reserves of the 
U.S. Navy which were situated at 
Teapot Dome, Wyoming. How came 




the word dome to be used of an oil 
reserve? An explanation will be 
found in the following passage: ‘In 
the dreary, rainy winter of 1900, the 
prospector was drilling with dogged 
persistence into a “salt dome” on 
the Texas gulf plain. . . . The Lucas 
gusher spewed its black gold to a crest 
200 feet above the dome. . . , Men 
bought and sold land within 20 miles 
of the ten-foot hump on the coastal 
plain known ironically as a “dome”. 
. . . After the Yugoslav prospector’s 
lucky strike of 1900, every salt dome 
on the Gulf Coast was seized upon by 
avid wildcatters and company agents ’ 
(H. O’Connor, Mellon’s Millions, 93, 
94, 95, 101). First of all, that is to 
say, the humps of salt on the Texas 
plain were facetiously called doyyies. 
Next, it was beneath one of these 
domes that an extraordinarily rich 
supply of oil was discovered. Then 
the word came to be used of any oil 
well, even as far away as Wyoming. 

domestic is much more commonly 
used in Am. than in Eng. in the sense 
of not foreign* Thus Am, domestic 
postage^ domestic mails = Eng. inland 
postage, inland mails* The story is 
told of a newly arrived Irishman who 
was standing in front of the letter- 
boxes at the N.y. Post Office, much 
puzzled as to the box into which he 
should drop a letter to his sweetheart. 
He found three boxes, labelled City, 
Domestic, Foreign. ‘Faith,’ he said, 
‘this is a problem. Maggie’s a 
domestic, she lives in the city, and 
she’s a foreigner. What beats me is 
how I’m to get the letter in the three 
holes at wanst.’ Similarly the con- 
tents of a newspaper may be sum- 
marized under the headings Domestic 
(news from all over the U.S.), Local 
(news from the inomediate neigh- 
bourhood) and Foreign (news from 
abroad). Am. domestic missions = 
Eng. home missions; e.g, ‘Most of the 
last graduating class had decided to 
go to the naission fields, both foreign 
and domestic.’ 

The word often means home-grown. 

home-made* One may even be offered 
‘roast domestic duck’. ‘Some of the 
bags are domestic, many are im- 
ported.’ ‘Good domestic corsets’ 
(Advt.). ‘The ammonia process was 
used in its early days at Syracuse, 
N.Y., and for many years furnished 
the only domestic soda, the larger 
part of that used being imported’ 
(Prof J. L. Howe, Inorganic Chemis- 
try, 213). 

A notice in a department store an- 
nouncing domestics in the basement 
does not indicate a servants’ registry 
but the department of house Imen 
and other household equipment. 

donate, an example of back- 
formation from donation, is a word 
which in Eng. is eschewed by good 
wntei s as a pretentious and magni- 
loquent vulgarism. In Am. on the 
other hand, it has acquired a place 
m the vocab. of quite reputable terms. 
‘Thomas Hollis donated a large col- 
lection of recent authors’ (Prof, H. W. 
Schneider, The Puritan Mind, 193). 
‘Through the generosity of owners 
many of them were donated to the 
public’ (Prof. A. E. Martin, Hist, of 
U.S. ii. 776). ‘Altogether Congress 
donated some 20,000,000 acres m the 
decade’ (Prof. D. S. Muzzey, The 
Am. Adventure, i. 479). ‘He donated 
land to all creeds for churches, school- 
houses and burial grounds’ (R. L. 
Hawkins, Mme de Stael and the 
U.S. 18). 

For donation paiUf, see the first 
quotation. ‘As the minister’s salary 
was only a meager support, it was 
the custom to add to his comfort by 
a donation party early in the •winter. 
This was a much-prized social oppor- 
tunity and the gifts of good things to 
eat and to wear added much to the 
comfort of the minister and his family’ 
(W. W. Folwell, Autobiog. 17). 
‘There are in Am, to-day thousands 
of worthy people who have grown 
too fashionable to attend the weekly 
prayer-meetings, the monthly church 
sociables, and the yearly donation 




door. The compound dooryard is 
pecuhar to Am. It is the name for 
a small patch of ground adjacent to 
the door of a house, and thus gener- 
ally corresponds to the Eng. ha^ yard 
or hack garden. ‘ When Lilacs Last in 
the Dooryard Bloomed’ is the title 
of one of the best known of Walt 
Whitman’s poems. ‘The great pile 
of spruce cordwood which he regularly 
hailed to his sister’s dooryard during 
the winter.’ ‘ Until every citizen sees 
to it that his O'vvn home, however 
simple, and his own dooryard, how- 
ever small, is not a blemish in what 
otherwise is growing to be a beautiful 
viDage’ (Dr. Lyman Abbott, Am. in 
the feiking, 150). ‘ In a few minutes 
Bill was driving a handsome rig into 
his dooryard’ (J. T. Flynn, God’s 
Gold, 31). 

See also trim. 

dormitory. Eng. readers wiU be 
puzzled by some reports from Am. 
colleges if they are not aware that a 
dormitory^ which with them means a 
sleepmg-room containing several beds, 
is in Am. a hostel or haU of residence 
for students. There is accordingly no 
tautology in a reference to ‘a dor- 
mitory bedroom’. ‘Hogan entered 
college poor. He now lives in the best 
dormitory.’ ‘The men [at Oxford] 
room in the college dormitories form- 
ing part of a quadrangle.’ ‘Not only 
has the absence of dormitories kept 
away students living at a distance, 
but it has served to drive away many 
residents of the city, who desired the 
college life which only dormitories 
can give.’ ‘The physical traimng of 
girls receives special attention in Am. 
— ^Radcliffe College, for example, 
having had a gymnasium before a 
dormitory’ (Prof. H. H. Horne, 
Philosophy of Education, 94). ‘New 
dormitories grouped about a main 
quadrangle were to be built in which 
preceptors and unmarried mstructors 
of the faculty were to live’ (D. 
Lawrence, True Story of Woodrow 
Wilson, 23). 

dough is in Am. a colloquial term 

for money f esp. when spent in political 
activities. ‘Governor Odell’s dough 
bag soon will be filled with more than 
enough money to pay the legitimate 
expenses of this campaign,’ ‘This is 
Tammany’s regular annual “dough- 
day” — ^that is, the day on which the 
district leaders come to Tammany 
Hall for election day funds.’ There 
is a story of an ardent lover, but poor 
speller, who wrote to a girl’s father 
asking for her hand. His note ran: 
‘I want your daughter, the flour of 
your family.’ ‘Are you sure it isn’t 
my dough you’re after?’ replied the 

The Am. doughbvrd is the Eskimo 
curlew, or Numenius borealis. 

A boiled dumpling is sometimes 
called in Am. a doughboy. This name 
is also facetiously given to an in- 
fantry soldier, who, ace. to the Stan-- 
dard Diet., is so called by cavalrymen 
because of the globular buttons on his 
uniform. ‘Lord Roberts speaks as if, 
to the mass of British cavalry officers, 
“cold steel”, whether m the form of 
lance or sabre, was still the only 
weapon suitable for a mounted force, 
and shooting dismounted a disgustmg 
practice which reduced a bold 
cavalier to the level of a “doughboy” 
at once.’ ‘The doughboy learned to 
use garlic in France.’ 

The compound doughface denotes a 
flabby or pliable person, whose char- 
acter, so to speak, is made of dough. 
During the abolitionist agitation it 
spec, indicated a Northerner who 
showed a tendency to undue com- 
pliance with the demands of the 
South. ‘The same arguments are 
employed that Northern doughfaces 
used to be plied with in slavery days.’ 
‘Cass was reputed “a northern man 
with southern principles” — ^popularly 
known as a “doughface”’ (Prof. 
D. S, Muzzey, The Am. Adventure, 
i. 441). 

The Am. doughnut presents a mys- 
terious problem to En^. readers of an 
article in the Atlantic Monthly of 
May 1934. A contributor, describing 
his experiences m a shipwreck, says 




that he seized a life preserver, 'which 
looked like a large white doughnut’. 
Such a comparison is utterly un* 
intelligible unless one is aware that 
the Am. doughnut is not a ball, like 
the Eng., but has the shape of a ring. 
This difference was evidently un- 
known to the Am. artist whom a 
N.Y. magazine commissioned a few 
years ago to illustrate an article by 
an Eng. writer on the spec, culinary 
products of various districts of Eng. 
In his ‘gastronomic map’ the Isle of 
Wight’s speciality was represented by 
somethmg that no native of the island 
would ever have recognized as a 
doughnut, for it pictured a doughnut 
of the annular Am. type. 

The expression dollars to doughnuts 
takes in Am. the place of the Eng. 
all Lomhaid Street to a China orange* 
‘Your murderer stands in the corner 
behind you to deliver the fatal blow, 
but it is dollars to doughnuts not a 
soul will see him.’ 

dove. In Am., as in certain Eng. 
dial., dove is not only a noun but a 
verb, being the past tense of dive^ so 
formed on the analogy of drive and 
drove (and, of course, with the same 
0 sound as in drove), ‘In a spirit of 
daring he dove into what proved to 
be a sandhole, and never regained 
the surface.’ ‘I was standing up at 
the time and the shock pitched me 
forward, so that I dove right through 
the wmdow’ (Theodore Roosevelt, 
in the published letters to his chil- 
dren). ‘He rushed to the water’s 
edge and dove toward the place where 
the two had disappeared from view’ 
(L. F. Stryker, Andrew Johnson, 2). 

draft. In Am, draft is spec, used 
of conscription for the army. ‘They 
didn’t believe in war, and went to 
Mesdeo to avoid the draft’ (A. G, 
Hays, Let Freedom Ring, 280). ‘The 
imposition of a draft system when 
voluntary enlistment failed’ (Dr. W. 
MacDonald, Three Centuries of Am. 
Democracy, 210). ‘There have been 
draft and other riots in N.Y. City.’ 
These draft riots were an outbreak in 

1863, in protest against conscription 
for service in the Civil War. 

It should be noted that draft is the 
Am. spelling of the Eng. draught, 
while the Eng. draft appears in Am. 
as draught, ‘The noon sun and the 
chilling draft are his enemies’ (Dr. 
A. J. Brown, The New Era in the 
Philippines, 49), ‘Though the brim 
be touched by a bitter draft’ (Wil- 
bur D. Nesbit, The Trail to Boyland, 
129), ‘The landed people in Wiscon- 
sm raise draft horses rather than the 
racing or saddle breed’ (Prof. C. E. 
Cason, in Culture in the South, 490). 
‘She had already made a draught of 
an opening paragraph incorporating 
her suggestion’ (E. Wilson, The Am, 
Jitters, 147). ‘It is Witte who has 
draughted the most comprehensive 
employers’ liability law in Europe’ 
(Sen. a. J. Beveridge, The Russian 
Advance, 439). 

Am. drafter = Eng, draught-hoi se, 
*A nice lot of well-broken useful 
horses, from the nice pleasant driver 
to the large, strong, rugged drafter’ 

drawing-room may denote in Am. 
a section of a railway train m which 
more luxurious and more pnvate 
accommodation is provided than in 
the ordinary cars. An announcement 
issued by the N.Y, Central runs as 
follows: ‘For uniformity in designat- 
ing rooms in Parlor and Sleeping 
Cars, rooms having three berths will 
be termed Drawing-Rooms; rooms 
known heretofore as Compartments 
and other rooms having only two 
berths will be termed Staterooms; 
cars that have been termed Drawing- 
Room Cars are hereafter to be called 
Parlor Cars, and rooms in these cars 
are termed Drawing-Rooms.’ ‘I sat 
in my drawing-room on the train’ 
(Anita Loos, Gentlemen Prefer 
Blondes, 197). 

dresser. In Eng. a kitchen side- 
board, with shelves for plates, dishes, 
dec. In Am. a chest of drawers, or 
dressing-table, for the bedroom. *A 
clever woman, whose hotel bedroom 




had also to serve as a sitting-room, 
solved the problem of the dresser 
ingemously. The piece was a veiy 
good mahogany, inlaid, and had a 
handsome round mirror. The upper 
drawer was used for the brushes and 
toilet articles usually kept on the 
dresser.’ ‘In the bedroom a large 
closet left space for nothing save the 
bed, dresser, and standing room for 
one’ (I. G. Morton, in Life in the 
U.S. 134). 

drive is firequently used in Am. to 
denote an energetic, organized cam- 
paign, esp. for the raising of money. 
‘The drive for $100,000 to buy a site 
for the Lutheran College will get 
under way tomorrow.’ ‘No precise 
calculation can be made of the drives 
and counterdrives to which the Presi- 
dent is subjected’ (C. A. and W. 
Beard, The Am. Leviathan, 253). 
‘In 1904-5 the alumni raised 
$2,300,000 in response to Eliot’s ap- 
peal for a general increase of faculty 
salaries. This step was one of the 
early examples of “drives” which 
afterwards came into force’ (Diet. Am. 
Biog. vi. 73). ‘From Liberty-loan 
campaigns he turned to community- 
chest drives and college-endowment- 
fund drives and church-membership 
drives and town-boosting drives and a 
multitude of other public campaigns’ 
(F. L. Alden, Only Yesterday, 227). 
A detailed account of the history and 
methods of money-raising drives in 
Am. will be found in the Encycl. Soc, 
Sci, V. 238. 

In Eng, a private road leading 
from the highway to a house is called 
a drive. In Am. it is a driveway. 
‘Several mounted officers dashed up 
our driveway’ (M. Gouverneur, As 
I Remember, 322). ‘Back from the 
main road, on a curving driveway, 
connected with it, was a two-story 
colonial structure’ (Dr. Franklin H. 
Martin, The Joy of Living, i. 161). 
‘Harding’s first official act was ... to 
permit fiiwers and trucks to detour 
from Pennsylvania Avenue up the 
driveway and chortle right past the 

presidential front door’ (F. L. Allen, 
Only Yesterday, 125). 

The term driveway is also occasion- 
ally used to denote a public road. 
‘The Paseo [of the city of Mexico] is 
one of the most noble driveways to 
be found in any land.’ ‘A chain of 
parks connected with splendid drive- 
ways is desirable’ (H. M. Pollock 
and W. S. Morgan, Modern Cities, 

See also ride. 

drop. Am. get the drop m == Eng. 
take at a disadvantage. Its onginal 
meaning is ‘have the chance to shoot 
before the antagonist can use his 
weapon’ (O.E.D. Suppl.). ‘His con- 
spicuous virtue is the agility of the 
man who never lets the other folks 
get the drop on him, rather than that 
of the executive who picks his way 
cautiously through the maze of inter- 
national complications.’ 

The Am. term drop letter denotes a 
letter addressed to a place within the 
delivery area of the office where it is 

drouth^ a form now archaic or 
poetic in Eng., though still in use in 
Scotland, is often preferred in Am. 
to drought, ‘The record-breaking 
drouth in Kentucky is beginning to 
decrease the mill supply in Louis- 
ville.’ ‘In 1887 the drouths came, 
and the reaction set in’ (V, F. 
Calverton, The Liberation of Am. 
Lit. 336). ‘It was a famine caused 
primarily by great drouth’ (Norman 
Thomas, America’s Way Out, 74). 
‘Excessive rain followed by drouth’ 
(Prof. Irving Fisher, Mastering the 
Crisis, 32), 

drug. The Am. drugstore corre- 
sponds to the Eng. chemisVs shop, but 
it is not limited to the functions sug- 
gested by its name. The sale of ‘soft’ 
drinks is usually one of its chief 
activities. ‘There were four clerks in 
the drug-store when the telephone 
bell rang. Two were at the prescrip- 
tion counter, one was serving ice- 
cream soda, the fourth was arranging 




packages of cough drops in a wicker 
basket.’ ‘He suggested that they 
should go out to the drug-store and 
get some soda-water’ (Alice Hegan 
Rice, Sandy, 138). ‘The driver of 
the street car would obligingly halt 
and let one run into a drug store 
for an ice cream soda’ (Gertrude 
Atherton, Adventures of a Novelist, 
198). In Am. druggist is not an anti- 
quated term, as it is nowadays in Eng. 

drummer is used fig. in Am. of a 
commercial traveller, who (metaphori- 
cally) goes about beating a drum to 
secure custom. ‘Drummers using the 
automobile are able to make 50 per 
cent, more calls on customers than 
could be achieved under the old 
system of traveling by railroad 
trains.’ ‘The drummer is the hotels’ 
best regular patron. He supports 
them when the traveler for pleasure 
cannot be counted upon’ (H. Rhodes, 
Am. Towns and People, 189), ‘The 
increase of advertising was attended 
by a decline m the number of drum- 
mers or traveling salesmen’ (Prof. 
A. M. ScHLESiNGER, The Rise of the 
City, 196). 

dry. Both as adj. and noun, dry 
IS in Am. a common synonym for 
prohibitionist ‘Town after town 
went dry under the Adams law.’ 
‘The convention hall is to be abso- 
lutely “dry” during the sessions. 
Plenty of good clear water will be 
on tap, but there is to be neither a 
bar nor a buffet in the building.’ 
‘Personally a dry, but politically a 
wet, he has refused political nomina- 
tions because of his stand against the 
18th Amendment.’ ‘Almost any dry 
could tell you that prohibition was 
the basis of Am. prosperity’ (F. L. 
Allen, Only Yesterday, 254). Cf. wet. 
Am. dry out = Eng. dry off, ‘An- 
other good feature is that it (a rain- 
coat] dries out in good shape’ (Advt.). 
‘The fanners have torn the stacks 
apart, and the bundles are drying 
out quite rapidly.’ 

Dry farming. See quotations. ‘A 
system of agriculture known as “dry 

farming” is being successfully used 
m the semi-arid districts of Colorado 
and other Western States m place of 

extensive schemes of irrigation It 

consists in so preparing the soil in 
semi-arid regions that it will catch 
what little annual rainfall there is, 
and store it within reach of the roots 
of plants to be grown.’ ‘Dry farmmg 
may be defined as the production of 
crops under such climatic conditions 
that the yield is usually and primarily 
limited by low rainfall’ (Encycl. 
Soe. Sci. v. 252). 

Dry goods is the name given in the 
vocab. of Am. stores to articles of 
drapery, mercery, and haberdashery, 
in distinction from groceries, hard- 
ware, &c. Prof. E. A. Freeman 
(Impressions of U.S. 63) remarks that 
he can see no reason for this use of the 
word, as other articles seem to the 
untechnical mind to be equally dry. 
But the phrase, he points out, is just 
like the Eng. hardware, which does 
not take in all things that are in 
themselves hard. ‘ If a dealer m dry- 
goods were to put upon his counter 
’ a “beautiful line of alpacas”.’ ‘“Too 
much dry goods for the women; too 
much wet goods for the men” is 
the epigrammatic explanation of the 
divorce evil offered from the bench 
by a southern j'udge.’ 

duck. ‘In Jan., 1875, a lame-duck 
Congress passed the Resumption 
Act’ (li. M. Hacker and B, B, 
Kendrick, The U.S. since 1865, 
204). This metaph. use of lame duck 
recalls a curious feature of the Am, 
political system. A new House of 
Representatives is elected in Nov. of 
every second year. A section of the 
original Constitution of the U.S. 
required the House to meet on the 
first Monday in Dec., unless a differ- 
ent day should be appointed by law. 
Until 1933, it was the practice for the 
House that thus assembled in Dec. to 
consist, not of the members elected 
in the previous month, but of those 
elected in Nov. two years before. 
Accordingly, this body included 




many persons who had recently failed 
to secure re-election, and who, in 
spite of this rejection by their consti- 
tuents, continued to serve in Congress 
until the session came to an end in 
the following March. Such members 
were popularly known as lame ducks, 
and the Congress or session in which 
they sat was called a lame-duck Con- 
gress or lame-duck session. 

The 20th Amendment to the Con- 
stitution, ratified in Jan. 1933, 
brought this anomaly to an end. It 
provided that a new session of Con- 
gress should begin on Jan. 3, instead 
of Dec., and that the term of office 
of previous members should expire 
on that date. Accordmgly, the House 
assembling in Jan. vSl henceforth 
consist of members elected in the 
previous Nov., and there will no 
longer be any lame ducks in this sense. 

The term is also occasionally applied 
to a politician, whether an ex-Con- 
gressman or not, who, on failing to be 
re-elected, is consoled by appoint- 
ment to some office other than that 
which he has just held. *A nice old 
Ohio politician who after having 
been governor of the State became 
a lame duck and was appointed to 
preside for four years over the U.S. 
Industrial Commission’ (F. J. Stim- 
SON, My U.S. 137). ‘Former Senator 
William B. Chandler, holding a lame- 
duck appointive post at the capital’ 
(H. F. Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt, 

The material known in Eng. as duck 
is sometimes called ducking in Am. 
‘Splendid selection of duckings &oi?i 
which to make awnings’ (Advt.). 

dues. This word is specialized in 
Am. as the normal term for a club 
subscription. ‘The annual dues of 
resident members shall be $50’ (By- 
laws of a Washmgton club), ‘The 
dues of the club had to be increased, 
and the membership began to falter.’ 
‘The kind of millionaire’s club whose 
entrance fee and annual dues are 
payable in the golden coin of happi- 
ness’ (W. E. Smythe, City Homes on 


Coimtry Lanes, 95). ‘He said the 
Century Club was a fine club. He had 
tried to resign twice or so as the dues 
were too high for him, using it as 
little as he did’ (Prof. A, G. Keller, 
Reminiscences of William Graham 
Sumner, 97), 

dumb. ‘I was once immensely sur- 
prised ’, says Edward Shanks (Even- 
ing Standard, Feb. 14, 1931) ‘by an 
Am. girl who passionately observed 
to me of her sister, “Amabel is too 
dumb; she never stops talking”.’ 
Hilaire Belloc, in The Contrast, men- 
tions that an Am. once said to him: 
‘The trouble with you English is that 
you are dumb,’ and protests that in 
the modern world there are no men 
with a greater command of expression 
than the English, Whereupon the 
N.Y. Times (May 11, 1924) comments : 
‘Taking “dumb” in the ordinary 
meanmg of the word, the old Parlia- 
mentanan was right; but what the 
Am. meant by “dumb”, using the 
vulgar speech here, was “stupid”, 
being nothing more nor less than 
German dumm, foolish, stupid — 
which, of course, on the part of that 
Am. was slang, likewise a childish and 
stupid bit of rudeness.’ Most Eng. 
readers would miss the point of the 
play upon the two meanings of the 
word when an Am. paper remarks 
that ‘it often happens that a man 
is not suspected of being dumb until 
he begins to talk’. This special Am. 
use of the word is too common to be 
set down as mere slang. ‘If he knew 
where the money went, and he would 
have been dumb if he did not know, 
it did not excite him’ (W. A. White, 
Masks in a Pageant, 488). ‘Surely 
he was not so dumb that he could 
not have known that’ (T. Dreiser, 
Tragic Am. 350). Cf. fresh. 

Hence the application of the term 
dumb-bell to a stupid person. ‘The 
quarterback who calls for the wrong 
play will be known to the surrounding 
coimtryside as a dumb-bell for the 
rest of his days.’ 

The compound dumb-waiter denotes 




in Eng. a revolving table used in a 
dining-room in order to dispense 
with the services of a waiter. In 
Am. it means a lift used to carry 
food from the kitchen to the dining- 
room. ‘The fire started on the third 
floor, near the dumb-waiter shaft.’ 
‘When I assisted the parlor maid in 
carrying food and dishes from the 
kitchen to the dining-room I sighed 
for the “dumb-waiter” or lift, of 
which we make use in our modem- 
built Am. houses’ (E. L. Banks, 
Autobiog. of a Newspaper Girl, 85). 

duster. In Eng. a cloth for remov- 
ing dust, esp. from furniture. In Am. 
also a light overcoat or wrap to pro- 
tect one’s clothes from dust. Cf. the 
Eng. dust-cloak and dust-coat. ‘The 
newcomer wore a linen duster.’ ‘The 
Judge’s coat was just a light duster.’ 
‘He had forgotten to bnng along any 
winter weanng apparel, so, although 
the nights were quite cold, he emerged 
from the tent in a summer suit and 
linen duster’ (C. H. Sternberg, Life 
of a Fossil Hunter, 94). ‘Aristocratic 
drivers in linen dusters and lemon- 
colored gloves to hold the reins’ 
(Dr. G. D. Lyman, The Saga of the 
Comstock Lode, 220). 

Dutch in Am. often = German, as 
it did m Eng. up to the 17th century. 
In The Earlier Life of Walter H, Page 
there is printed a letter, written by 
him when studying in Berlin in 1877, 
in which he says to his mother: ‘You 
must not ever feel ashamed of your 
Dutch blood.’ The editor comments 
in a footnote: ‘Page, of course, means 
German ; in his day — and sometimes 
now — It was common m the U.S, to 
eaU Germans Dutchmen." 'Mr. Buch- 
man was bom and lived through 
youth and young manhood near the 
heart of the “Pennsylvania Dutch” 
district in Eastern Pennsylvania. It 
is from that simple, stolid, deeply 
religious German Lutheran stock 
that Mr. Buchman comes.’ 

A Dutch lunch or Dutch supper is one 
at which each person pays for his 
own share of the meal or brings his 

own provisions. ‘Dancmg was en- 
joyed by all, as was the Dutch lunch 
which was partaken of at intervals 
during the evening.’ ‘It is too bad 
that our young hopefuls at college 
have to buy their own golf caps and 
sweaters, thus depriving themselves 
of money they need to buy plug-cut 
and Dutch suppers with.’ 

To beat the Dutch is to do something 
that causes intense surprise, that 
takes away one’s breath, that flabber- 
gasts one. ‘“Well, you women do 
beat the Dutch”, said her brother, 
with a tenderly indulgent air, as if 
he were addressing children’ (M. E. 
Wilkins Freeman, By the Light of 
the Soul, 277). 

fdyed. In its fig. use the Eng. ex- 
pression dyed in grain appears in Am. 
as dyed in the wool. ‘Senators are no 
longer elected by dyed-in-the-wool 
party men, but by voters in the mass.’ 
‘She was in some respects a remark- 
able character, a “dyed-in-the-wool” 
Southerner, and a woman of unusual 
personal charm’ (M. Gouverneur, 
As I Remember, 278). ‘In 1828 a real 
dyed-in-the-wool Dem. was elected 
President of the U.S. for the first 
time in its history’ (Prof. T. J. 
Grayson, Leaders and Periods of 
Am. Finance, 182). ‘I have never 
been a free trader nor a dyed-in-the- 
wool protectionist’ (E. A. Filene, 
Successful Living in this Machine 
Age, 163). 


East. ‘I asked a well-known pro^ 
fessor at one of the largest and best- 
known universities in the East what, 
in his candid opinion, his university 
did for the many thousands of stu- 
dents who annually attended it’ 
(J. Trxjslow Adams, A Searchlight on 
Am. 125), If this sentence had oc- 
curred in a book by an Eng, writer, 
the reference would have been to a 




university in India or China or Japan. 
Mr. Adams, however, was referring 
to a university in the Eastern part 
of the U.S., which is what an Am. 
always means by the EasL The term 
is vaguely used. ‘The East’, accord- 
ing to the Republican, of Springfield, 
Mass., ‘is a relative term as one 
traverses the Am. continent. Thus, 
when the California newspapers re- 
port that settlers from the East are 
locating in Glynn county, the far 
easterner is surprised to read that the 
reference is to people coming from 

When an Am. has Asia in mind, he 
speaks of the Orient, which, accord- 
ingly, is not in Am. a poetical or 
affected term as it is in Eng. ‘That 
peace in the Orient will lead to a great 
industrial and commercial develop- 
ment in China admits of no question.’ 
Mrs. Rorer tells us in her Cook Book 
that ‘in the Orient the yoimg fronds 
of the common brake are used as a 
green vegetable’. ‘Between times he 
visited Greece, Turkey, Africa, Aus- 
tralia, and the Orient’ (Diet. Am. 
Biog. vi. 520). ‘In the western world, 
as distinguished from the Orient, this 
tendency was supported by the 
religious beliefs of the people’ (Dr. 
N. M. Butler, Looking Forward, 98). 
See also side. 

eat. There are many passages in the 
A.V. of the Bible where eat = take 
one^s meals. This meaning, now obs. 
in Eng., persists in Am, (One may 
compare the use of the German 
essen.) ‘The working woman must 
not eat irregularly, if she be inclined 
to be nervous. If the working woman 
eats at 1 2, let her observe the hour with 
fidelity.’ A character in one of David 
Graham Phillips’s novels — strange to 
say, an Eng, nobleman — ^remarks: 
‘iSie Longviews invited me to feed 
with them. They eat in their sitting- 
room.’ ‘In Princeton, all freshmen 
eat in the college commons’ (W. A. 
White, Woodrow Wilson, 145). 

Hence the eating club and eating 
hall at an Am, college correspond to 

the Eng. dining club and dining halL 
‘His eating club was “The Alliga- 
tors’’, which he joined in his sopho- 
more year’ (Prof. H. J. Ford, Wood- 
row Wilson, 9). ‘By a college I mean 
not merely a group of dormitories, but 
an eating hall as well where all the 
residents of the college shall take their 
meals together’ (Woodrow Wilson, 
quoted in his biog. by Edith Gittings 
Reid, 102). 

As a noun, eat is, as yet, a vulgarism, 
mostly to be found in such advts. 
as ‘Big Eats Caf^’. In Dodsworth 
(p. 22) Sinclair Lewis describes his 
hero as driving along Conklin Avenue 
past ‘lunch-rooms with the blatant 
sign “Eats”.’ The word may some- 
times be used by the writer of a book ; 
e.g. ‘Tickets, selling at 5 dollars each, 
provided some eats, an average of 25 
drinks of liquor apiece, and left a 
substantial balance in the political 
treasury’ (Dr. H. Zink, City Bosses 
in U.S. 89). Dr. Zink, however, is 
describing a Tammany outing, and 
is presumably suitmg Ms vocabulary 
to his theme. 

The Am. compound eating-apron 
denotes a kind of bib. ‘Ever since 
he and she wore eating-aprons at 
Franklin’s little table in the Hyde 
Park nursery where they used to have 
their bread and milk supper together’ 
(B. Moses, Franklin Delano Roose- 
velt, 53). 

editor, t-^n Am, newspaper has 
many editors, for almost eve^ mem- 
ber of the staff who is in charge of a 
department is dignified by that title. 
‘Under the managmg editor are the 
city editor, who collects the local 
news; the telegraph or news editor, 
who collects the matter that comes 
by wire; and the various department 
e&ors-^ramatic, literary, sporting, 
commercial, real estate, and others’ 
(E. L. Shuman, Practice Journalism, 

The spec, meaning given in London 
to the city, i.e. the financial district, 
has led to the use of city editor 
in the London press to denote the 




person in charge of the financial de- 
partment. The corresponding mem- 
ber of the staff of an Am. paper is 
called the financial editor, while the 
city editor, as mentioned in the above 
quotation, is responsible for the 
collection of local news. ‘To-day the 
Supreme Court is no longer an asset 
for the aU-important city editor. 
Public interest in its deliberations is 
moribund' (Dr. J. M. Beck, May it 
Please the Court, 26). ‘Sitting as city 
editor for the occasion, I have 
covered every angle of the story by 
assigning a brilliant man to write it 
up’ (The End of the World, 4). 
‘Rough-and-ready writers never suf- 
fer from beauty rash. Journalists 
soon learn to escape it, for the city 
editor keeps drastic medicines for 
this disease’ (H. S. Canby, Better 
Wnting, 113). 

•fAm. editorial = Eng. leading article 
or leader. ‘Recently our newspapers 
have been filled with editorials on our 
diplomacy as it affects Manchuria’ 
(Sen. A. J. Beveridge, The Russian 
Advance, 5). ‘His wider reputation 
rested on his political reporting and 
on his editorials’ (Diet. Am. Biog. 
vii. 622). 

Hence Am. editorial writer = Eng. 
leader-writer. ‘He has lately become 
an editorial writer on the Boston 
Advertiser and Record, after servmg 
a considerable apprenticeship on 
those and other Boston papers as a 
reporter.* ‘A newspaper editorial 
writer from the West, author of 
countless editorials and many maga- 
zme articles’ (L. F. Cabb, 
Challenged, 282). ‘The young re- 
viewer or editorial writer wfi be 
smart rather than sound’ (H. S. 
Canby, Better Writing, 121). 

educational. The various acts of 
Parliament dealing with education 
are called in Eng. education acts. In 
Am. educational is used in such a 
connexion. ‘The educational act 
passed by the British Parliament.’ 
‘There was before the Senate a 
measure known as the Blahr Educa- 

tional Bill, the purport of which was 
to extend federal aid in an effort to 
overcome illiteracy’ (G. T. Clark, 
Leland Stanford, 456). 

effective. It is necessary to beware 
of misimderstanding this word in a 
peculiar use it often has in Am. 
Thus, when Pres. Taft said, of certain 
prospective changes in tariff sche- 
dules, that he looked forward to 
June 1 as the date ‘when most of 
these changes will become effective’, 
he did not predict that on that date 
they would accomplish their purpose. 
Again, when F. J. Haskin (dThe Am. 
Government, 429) says that ‘nation- 
wide prohibition became effective in 
the U.S., Jan. 16, 1920’ he by no 
means intends us to understand that 
on that date the drink traffic ceased. 
In Am. a law or order or railway 
time-table is said to be effective on the 
day that it comes into operation. 
‘An order was made, effective Aug. 1, 
1923, which reduced gas rates’ (Dr. 
J. M. Beck, May it Please the Court, 
278). ‘Congress enacted a law, effec- 
tive Sept. 30, 1818, closing the ports 
of the U.S. to British vessels’ (Dr. 
J. H. Frederick, The Development 
of Am. Commerce, 115). 

election. Am. special election = 
Eng, by-election. ‘The special election 
in the 14th congressional district to 
fill the vacancy caused by the death 
of William C. Lovermg will be held 
on March 22.’ ‘When the council 
confers aldermanic rank upon its own 
members, special elections in the 
wards fill the vacant councillorships’ 
(Albert Shaw, Municipal Govern- 
ment in Great Bntam, 31). See also 

elective. Intheterminology of Am. 
education, elective = Eng. optional. 
‘In all these institutions imtil re- 
cently religious instruction has been 
required; fiiose that have registered 
with th^ Chinese government, how- 
ever, have been compelled to make 
such instruction elective’ (Survey of 
Am, Foreign Relations, 1930, 83). In 




Am. schools and colleges the elective 
system is a system ace. to which the 
student is free, within limits, to choose 
his own subjects for study, instead of 
having to follow a prescribed curri- 
culum. ‘Practically the elective sys- 
tem is something like restaurants a 
la carte, and one is most apt to order 
what he sees his neighbors enjoying.’ 
‘He had been educated before the 
elective system came in, and he had 
a pathetic veneration for the old 
curriculum’ (Dr. S. McC. Crothebs, 
The Pardoner’s Wallet, 82). 

As a noun, elective = optional sub- 
ject, ‘The idea of grouping electives 
is the fundamental difference between 
Eng. and Am. education’ (J. Corbin, 
An Am. at Oxford, 167). See also 

elector. In Eng. elector and voter 
are synonyms. In Am. there is a 
distinction between them, electors 
being the technical term for the per- 
sons — ^themselves chosen by popular 
vote in the various States — on whom 
falls the duty, now purely formal, of 
electing the President of the U.S. 
(One may cf. the use of the term 
to denote those Princes of Germany 
who were formerly entitled to take 
part in the election of the Emperor.) 
These electors are sometimes spoken 
of as constituting an electoral college, 
but this use of the term is not strictly 
accurate, as they meet and vote in 
separate State groups and not as a 
single national body. 

The electoral vote, east by these 
electors in Jan. of every fourth year, 
is thus distinguished from the popular 
vote, which is cast in the general 
election of the previous Nov., and 
which formally results in no more 
than the choice of electors though 
it actually decides between the vari- 
ous candidates for the Presidency, 
‘Though it [the Prohibition party] 
has never cast an electoral vote, its 
candidates have been in the field in 
every presidential compaign since 
1870’ (Prof, A. E. Martin, Hist, of 
TJ.S. ii. 765). That is to say, this party 

has never obtained sufficient popular 
support to place one of its members 
among the persons chosen by any 
State as its electors. ‘The election 
resulted in Wilson’s receiving 435 
electoral votes, while Roosevelt got 
81 and Taft but 15. In the popular 
vote Roosevelt ran more than 
600,000 ahead of Taft’ (J. Kerney, 
Political Education of Woodrow 
Wilson, 247), 

elegant. In Am. elegant does not 
necessarily imply refinement or good 
taste, but is coUoq. sometimes almost 
a synon3nn for excellent, first-rate, 
‘For sale — 80 acres well improved, 
near Midlothian Golf Club; elegantly 
situated’ (Advt.). ‘Lecture by Dr. 
Fox. Students of Elizabeth College 
Enjoy an Elegant Discussion of “The 
Perfect Life”’ (Newspaper headline). 
It is also more freely used than in 
Eng. in the sense of fashionable, stylish, 
‘Altogether it was a social function 
which would have been considered 
elegant in N.Y.’ (Dr. A. J. Brown, 
The New Era in the Philippmes, 56). 
‘The most elegant of these homes 
were occupied by officers’ (Dr. O. T. 
Barck, N.Y. City During the War 
for Independence, 83). ‘This is one 
of the most elegant of all the thick 
soups’ (Mrs. Rorer’s New Cook 
Book, 81). 

elevated. The term elevated train 
denotes a train which in certain Am. 
cities runs on an elevated railroad; 
i.e. a railway whose track is con- 
structed, high above the street level, 
on strong latticed iron columns. 
‘When I first rode in a first-class car 
in Japan and saw several dainty 
Japanese women in pretty silks 
standing, while Japanese men re- 
mained resolutely seated, I could 
almost fancy I was on an elevated 
train bound for Harlem.’ ‘The cars 
were drawn by little steam locomo- 
tives, as the elevated trains were at 
first in N.Y.’ (E. L. Masters, The 
Tale of Chicago, 241). 

The word elevated in this sense is 
sometimes abbreviated to L or EL 




‘The L. rumbles overhead.’ ‘Irma 
lives under the EL in the first of a 
small solid row of tarnished pink 
brick houses’ (E. Wilson, The Am. 
Jitters, 126). 

elevator is used in Am. in two spec, 
senses: (1) a building for the storage 
and distribution of grain, which is 
loaded and unloaded by an endless 
carrier studded with metal cups or 
buckets ; and (2) a lift. 

(1) ‘The elevators now in progress of 
construction will give a total storage 
capacity of nearly 7,000,000 bushels.’ 

* Country elevators are full and central 
elevators overflowing. Wheat — wheat 
everywhere.’ ‘The general movement 
of the gram is from the farmers to 
the country grain elevators, and 
thence to the terminal markets’ 
(T. C. Blaisdell, The Federal Trade 
Commission, 131). 

(2) ‘The people should be as free to 
step on a street car without charge 
as to ride in an elevator in a down- 
town building.’ ‘Mana began climb- 
ing the stairs. There was no elevator’ 
(M. E. Wilkins Freeman, By the 
Light of the Soul, 161). See car. 

Am. freight elevator = Eng. hoist. 

ell. In Am. an ell is not always a 
measure of length. It is sometimes 
a wing of a building, joined to it in 
such a way that the two together are 
in the shape of the letter L. ‘A large 
room, with an ell of smaller size, 
and a wide square doorway between, 
formed the dance-haU of the evening.’ 
‘She had built an ell to the house in 
order to provide a dwelling for the 
man who managed her farm’ (K. D. 
WxGGiN, My Garden of Memory, 861). 
Sometimes it is written L. ‘In the 
rear of the building was an L section.’ 
‘Her room was in the L’ (K. D. 
WiGGiN, Rebecca, 97). 

This word must be distinguished 
from EL, an abbrev. of elevated 

emigrate is used in Am. not only 
of removal from one country to an- 
other but also of removal from one 

State in the Union to another. 
‘Vanderbilt May Emigrate’ is the 
heading of a newspaper report that 
Vanderbilt is likely to remove from 
N.Y. to Philadelphia. ‘John T. 
Morgan was born at Athens, Tenn., 
1824 ; received an academic education, 
chiefly in Ala., to which State he 
emigrated when nine years old’ (Con- 
gressional Directory for 1908, 1). 
‘Albert Alonzo’s father emigrated to 
the Middle West from New England 
as a pioneer physician’ (Dr. H. Zink, 
City Bosses of U.S. 834). 

eminent domain. In Eng. this 
term is rarely used exc. in connexion 
with matters of international law. In 
Am. it IS commonly employed to 
denote the power of expropriation 
exercised within its own borders by 
the Federal Government or an indi- 
vidual State. ‘The shores of all these 
reservoir lakes belong to the State, 
sufficient land aroimd each for the 
establishment of a “flow line’’ havmg 
been given by right of eminent do- 
mam.’ ‘The Federal Government 
also enjoys the power of eminent 
domain; in other words, it may take 
private property for public use; but 
it must make just compensation to 
the owner’ (C. A. and W. Beard, 
The Am. Leviathan, 64). ‘Private 
property cannot be taken by the 
power of eminent domain for a 
private purpose even though com- 
pensation be made. The use must be 
a public one. . . . The national govern- 
ment may, for instance, exert this 
power in order to obtain sites for 
public buildings, in order to construct 
highways for interstate commerce, 
and for the purpose of establishing 
parks and national memorials’ (Prof. 
C. K. Bxjrdick, The Law of the Am, 
Constitution, 419). 

endive. See chicory. 

tengineer. In Am, this word may 
denote not only one who follows the 
profession of engineering but also an 
engine-driver. This use has hitherto 
been rare in Eng. except with regard 




to marine engines ‘As engineer he 
traveled over 2,000,000 miles, carry- 
ing 500,000 passengers without a 
single accident.’ ‘The engineer of a 
fast-moving tram must accept the 
instructions of the signal’ (F. J. 
Haskin, The Am. Government, 230). 

en]oin» as commonly used, has 
precisely opposite meanings in Eng. 
and Am, In Eng. it means prescribe, 
but in Am. prohibit (by the issue of 
an injunction). Thus we find an 
Eng. judge quoted by a London paper 
as saying that it was ridiculous to 
grant licences expressly enjoining 
Sunday closing of public-houses and 
at the same time to frame elaborate 
rules for Sunday opening. The fol- 
lowing examples illustrate the Am. 
use. ‘ It will, of course, be impossible 
to enjoin the collection of the tax, 
and presumably the attacks on the 
law will come in the form of suits for 
recovery of taxes which have been 
paid.’ ‘No political democracy but 
ours permits courts to enjoin acts in 
themselves peaceful and not illegal 
during times of stnke. , . . Even 
church-going has been enjoined in one 
famous case in Pennsylvania, and 
only private prayer for success has 
been left as a legal weapon’ (Noeman 
Thomas, America’s Way Out, 270). 

enlarge may still be used in Am. 
in the sense, now archaic in Eng., 
of set free, release, ‘Mrs. Maybrick 
would have been enlarged on parole, 
in the year she was, under the prison 
policy of Eng., had no person in the 
world ever asked for her enlargement.’ 

enlisted men is a common term in 
Am, for the rank and file of an army. 
‘No major battle displayed less 
generalslup, and none more courage 
on the part of the enlisted men* 
(Diet. Am. Biog. vii. 495). ‘Gen. 
Pershing with a staff of 53 officers 
and 146 enlisted men sailed for 
Liverpool’ (Prof. A. E. Martin, Hist, 
of U.S. ii. 638). 

Hence enlisted grade, denoting a 
rank below that of commissioned 

officer. ‘He enlisted in Company L 
of the 16th Illinois Cavalry and served 
through the various enlisted grades 
in that organization’ (Diet. Am. 
Biog. xii. 37). 

entry. In Am. entry may denote 
the door, lobby, or hall by which one 
enters a building. This would now 
be called in Eng. an entrance* ‘Every 
farmer who had a spare room or a cot 
in a back entry.’ ‘ “Put the trunk in 
the entry, and we’ll get it carried 
upstairs this afternoon,” she said’ 
(K. D, WiGGiN, Rebecca, 36). 

In Am. entry may also be used in 
the sense of beginning (of a penod of 
time). ‘We print upon another page 
an act of the Legislature which be- 
came operative wnth the entry of 
the month.’ 

equalization. In many Am. States 
and counties there is a hoard of 
equalization, appointed to compare 
and revise the valuations of taxable 
property made by the various local 
assessors, so that the incidence of 
taxation may be the same in all 

equity may denote in Am. not only 
a principle of justice or a system of 
law but a spec, asset, which is defined 
by the Century Diet* as ‘the remaining 
interest belongmg to one who has 
pledged or mortgaged his property, 
or the surplus of value which may 
remain after the property has been 
disposed of for the satisfaction of 
liens’. ‘His equity is in his wife’s 
name now; when did he put it there, 
and was it to defraud creditors?’ 
‘With only a prefemption title to my 
land, I now planned to “prove up” 
on it, sell my equity in it, and use 
the money toward my education’ 
(Hamlin Garland, Roadside Meet- 
ings, 3). ‘Homes and farms in pro- 
cess of purchase were left in the hands 
of the original owners without any 
attempt to recover any equity the 
purchaser may have had in them’ 
(R. R. Moton, What the Negro 
Thinks, 59). 




In the following passage from a 
newspaper article the word has come 
to be used fig. ‘It is by no means 
certain that the issue may not prove 
ultimately an asset of some impor- 
tance to the Democrats. At least, 
there is no doubt that they mtend to 
retain their equity in it.’ 

A hill %n equity is defined by the 
Century Diet, as ‘in an equity suit, 
the pleading in which the plaintiff 
sets forth the circumstances on which 
he bases his claim for relief’. ‘The 
Indian Bureau and the Department 
of Justice have joined forces to op- 
pose the alleged misuse of lands 
awarded by treaty to the White 
Earth tribe of Chippewa Indians. 
Nearly 600 bills in equity have been 
filed in the U.S. Circuit Court for the 
district of Minnesota against persons 
alleged to have obtained tracts of 
lands otherwise than under the pro- 
visions of the treaty.’ ‘This com- 
bination was dissolved by a bill in 
equity filed by the Department of 
Justice alleging violation of the anti- 
trust laws’ (T. C. Blaisdell, The 
Federal Trade Commission, 140). 

European. For European plan, see 
quotation. ‘Some of the hotels are 
operated on the European plan ex- 
clusively, that is to say, the patron 
merely rents a room and is privileged 
to get his meals wherever he sees fit, 
his hotel expense being proportion- 
ately reduced. The i^erican plan 
provides dining room privileges, the 
boarders being entitled to the regular 
course of meals each day without 
extra charge. Each plan has its 
advantages, the European plan re- 
commendmg itself to those whose 
movements are likely to be uncertain 
while in the city, as it would be a 
decided inconvenience and waste of 
time to journey back to the hotel for 
meals. The tendency of recent years 
has been to operate on both plans’ 
(Mobbis’s Diet, of Chicago). 

evacuation. The term EvacucAion 
Day denotes the anniversary of the 
day on which N.Y,, Boston, or other 

Am. city was evacuated by the 
British troops after the Revolution. 
In N.Y. it is celebrated by the raismg 
of the Am. flag at the Battery and at 
the old blockhouse in Central Park. 

evil. In Am. the derivative evilly, 
now little used m Eng., sometimes 
takes the place of ill, ‘They did not 
despise him. Rather did they tolerate 
him m a broad human way, as one 
tolerates any creature evilly treated 
m the making’ (Jack London, White 
Fang, 189). ‘Neither of them could 
conceive of anything being wrong 
with any of their friends — ^an ex- 
cellent trait, if one’s fnends are not 
evilly disposed’ (W. G. McAdoo, 
Crowded Years, 144). 

examiner. A variety of examiner 
peculiar to Am. is the bank examiner. 
He is a public official, appointed to 
visit the banks and audit their ac- 
counts. ‘The bank examiner came to 
his town and told the bank it had to 
get rid of its frozen assets.’ ‘The 
Banking Department and its bank 
examiners occupy a well-defined 
position towards the public. The 
opening of an institution’s books and 
vaults to the frequent supervision of 
the experts appointed by the State 
is a condition of granting the bank 
its charter.’ ‘The Federal Farm Loan 
Board has general supervisory power 
over these banks. In addition to 
granting charters, it appoints the 
examiners who examine the banks at 
least twice a year’ (Prof. E. S. 
Spabks, Agricultural Credit in the 
U.S. 398). ‘It appears that national 
bank examiners have not under the 
present laws the right to examine 
affiliates of banks’ (Upton Sinclair 
Presents William Fox, 364). 

excellency. The title of His Ex- 
cellency is given in the British Empire 
to ambassadors, colonial governors, 
and the commander-in-chief m India. 
In Am. it is given, by the constitu- 
tions of those States, to the governors 
of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, 
and is popularly applied also to 




governors of other States and am- 
bassadors from foreign powers. 
was to have been expected that the 
decision of the governor not to be 
a candidate for re-election would 
enliven the field of political gossip. . . . 
His excellency is in receipt of pro- 
testing letters from all over the state.* 
‘The second factor on which victory 
hung was none other than his Ex- 
cellency, Alva Hopkins, governor of 
the stale’ (W. Churchill, Coniston, 

excelsior. Longfellow’s poem is not 
the only association an Am. has with 
this word. He uses it to denote soft 
wood shavings used for stuffing. 
‘Start a fresh fire with an abundance 
of light material, such as shavmgs or 
excelsior’ (Mrs. Rorer’s New Cook 
Book, 86). ‘The voter in an election 
who likened his plight to that of a 
donkey between two bales of ex- 
celsior’ (M. A. DE W. Howe, Por- 
trait of an Independent, 312). ‘ Grass 
dried into a sort of pale excelsior’ 
(Christopher Morley, John Mistle- 
toe, 219). ‘The country was as dry 
as excelsior’ (H. Cahill, in Life in 
the U.S. 86). 

excise. In Eng. an excise laxjo deals 
with the manufacture of liquors. In 
Am. it deals also with their sale, and 
is thus generally equivalent to the 
Eng. licensing law. ‘In many places 
the back doors of the saloons have 
stood wide open all night and no 
attempt has been made to conceal 
the open violation of the excise law.’ 
‘The matter of closing the Chicago 
saloons on Sundays and enforcing the 
excise laws’ (Dr. H. Zink, City 
Bosses in U.S. 286). ‘Fundamentally, 
Roosevelt was not a prohibitionist, 
nor did he really care whether beer or 
anything else was sold on Sunday. 
He started with the sound position 
that violations of the excise law led 
to extortion by the police’ (H. F. 
Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt, 140). 

exclusive. In Am. the meaning of 
this term has so far departed from its 

etymological signification that it has 
virtually become a synonym tor first- 
rate, high-class. The proprietor of a 
hotel advertises it as ‘distinctive for 
its elegance, exclusiveness, high-class 
patronage and liberal management’. 
The prmcipal street of a foreign city 
is described as notable for its ‘sump- 
tuous clubs, glittering shops, exclusive 
tea-rooms’. A news item is headed; 
‘ Society Woman a Housemaid. Mem- 
ber of an Exclusive Family Becomes 
a Servant Girl.’ ‘The most exclusive 
stores’, ‘our new and exclusive 
models for winter wear’, ‘exclusive 
scarfs for men*, ‘the largest and most 
exclusive line of imported wash 
materials’ are typical examples from 
advertisements. Those who sell 
these goods sometimes appropriate 
this epithet to themselves; as ‘ex- 
clusive haberdashers’, ‘exclusive sta- 
tioners’. A N.Y. Times advertise- 
ment describes Bond Street, London, 
as ‘perhaps the most exclusive 
shopping avenue in all of Europe ’- 
Dr. Harold Zink (City Bosses in U.S. 
85) refers to ‘bosses who have estab- 
lished homes in exclusive sections’ 
of N.Y.; i.e. who live in fashionable 
districts. ‘She went to Lake Forest, 
to teach in an exclusive boarding 
school’ (R. W. Babson, Washington 
and the Revolutionists, 88). A school 
of that kind would call itself in Eng. 
a select school. It is said that, in a 
pamphlet once issued to boost the 
attractions of a certain Am. city, one 
of the points was that it had ‘the 
largest exclusive club in the world’. 

executive is in Eng. much more fre- 
quently an adj. than a notm. In Am. 
it is qmte as often a noun. 

When used as a noun, it commonly 
denotes in Eng. a body of persons 
(e,g. a committee or board), but in 
Am. a smgle person. The name, 
sometimes qualified by chief, is ap- 
plied to (1) the President of the U.S., 
(2) the Governor of a state, or (8) the 
Mayor of a city. (1) ‘The ease with 
which the Executive can exercise war 
powers without the express sanction 




of Congress.’ ‘Notwithstanding that 
midnight was the published time of 
arrival of the train bearing the Presi- 
dent, a large number of people as- 
sembled at Union Station and gave 
the Chief Executive an enthusiastic 
greeting.’ ‘If something happened 
that required the attention of the 
President immediately, he did not 
hesitate to communicate promptly 
with the Chief Executive’ (D. Law- 
rence, True Story of Woodrow 
Wilson, 227). (2) ‘The practice of 
members of the Legislature running 
to the Governor with every rough 
draft of a bill in order to get his ad- 
vance approval, has come to be a 
fearful devastation of the Execu- 
tive’s day.’ ‘The occasion was ren- 
dered notable by the presence of 
Governor Murphy, the Chief Execu- 
tive of the State.’ (3) ‘No doubt the 
present Executive has not pleased 
eveiy'body. No Mayor ever does.’ 

In the vocab. of Am. business an 
executive is an official of a firm or 
company who possesses power to act 
in matters within his department. 
Prof, P. W. Taussig and C. S. Joslyn 
(Am. Business Leadeis, 86) divide 
such officials into chief executives, in- 
cluding the president of a business 
corporation and the chairman of its 
board, and subordinate executives, in- 
cluding the vice-presidents, treasurer, 
secretary, and general manager. ‘A 
plan was evolved by National Chair- 
man Raskob, himself new to politics 
but experienced as one of the notable 
executives of the country, to apply 
business principles to a national 
political party,’ ‘Each of us should 
learn young whether he is, roughly 
speaking, an executive or a thinker, 
artist, talker, worker, scholar, or 
scientist’ (L. Steffens, Autobiog. 
621). ‘Young Morgan had withdrawn 
from his father’s old firm, and had, 
together with another young execu- 
tive, formed his own banking house’ 
(R, L Warshow, Story of Wall 
Street, 289). ‘Certain qualities pos- 
sessed by Gary made him an ideal 
executive — perfect self-control, un- 

failing tact, and extraordinary pa- 
tience in dealing with conflicting 
points of view’ (Diet. Am. Biog. vii. 
176). ‘You noted him as a man of 
importance, as an executive’ (Sin- 
clair Lewis, Dodsworth, 1 8). ‘ Frank- 
lin taught the lesson that the province 
of the executive is to do the big things 
and to leave to others the routine of 
carrying on’ (Prof. A. H. Qxhnn, The 
Soul of Am. 82). 

As an adj. the Am. executive would 
often be represented in Eng. by 
administrative or managing*, e.g. an 
executive position *= an administra- 
tive post, a post as manager. 

An executive agreement is an arrange- 
ment made by the President of the 
U.S. with a foreign Power which is 
to all intents and purposes a treaty, 
but which, by being formally a mere 
agreement, escapes the necessity of 
being sent to the Senate for confirma- 
tion. For examples, see C. A. Beard, 
Am. Government and Politics, 204, 
and Senator S. M. Cullom, Fifty 
Years of Public Service, 393. 

The Executive Mansion was formerly 
the official designation of the Presi- 
dent’s residence. Under President 
Theodore Roosevelt it was super- 
seded by The White House, already 
the popular name for it. It is still the 
usual official name for the residence 
of a State Governor, See white. 

An executive order is an order issued 
by the President in some matter of 
administration that can be dealt witdi 
apart from legislation by Congress. 
It corresponds in some measure to the 
Eng. order in council. ‘The senator 
arraigned the President for over- 
nding the Constitution, violating the 
obligations of a solemn treaty, and 
resorting to the device of an executive 
order to accomplish what Congress 
had failed to enact into law.’ ‘The 
act also provided that the President 
could suspend, by executive order, 
whenever in his discretion the needs 
of foreign commerce so required, the 
laws relating to survey, inspection and 
measurement of vessels under the 
Am. flag’ (Dr. J. H. Frederick, 




Development of Am. Commerce, 

One of the most curious examples of 
the acquisition of a new meaning by 
usage has occurred in connexion with 
the term executive session. Whenever 
the U.S. Senate proceeds to deal with 
executive as distinct from legislative 
business — i.e. when it considers com- 
munications from the President re- 
specting nominations to office or the 
conclusion of treaties — it is said to go 
into executive session. Such sessions 
are ordinarily held with closed doors, 
the galleries being cleared of news- 
paper representatives and of the 
general public. Accordingly, to go 
into executive session has come to 
mean to meet in private, or in camera. 
Thus, when m a report of a Methodist 
conference or of a political or educa- 
tional convention one reads that at 
a certain stage of the proceedings it 
‘went into executive session’, the use 
of this phrase is not intended to sug- 
gest anything as to the nature of 
the business thereafter transacted. It 
simply means that at this point 
reporters and other outsiders were 
excluded. ‘The committee of the 
policy-holders [of an insurance society] 
went into executive session at 2 
o’clock, and the deliberations of the 
afternoon session will not be made 
public until 5 o’clock, when a state- 
ment will be issued.’ ‘Almost as soon 
as we arrived, the President and I 
went into executive session. The 
President closed his study door so 
as not to be interrupted’ (Intimate 
Papers of Col. House, li, 419). ‘If he 
carries his shrewd business sense into 
his political career, he will be very 
sceptical regarding flattering remarks 
of this sort. When they become too 
numerous it might pay him to go into 
executive session with himself for the 
purpose of asking how many such 
compliments he would have received 
if he had been a poor man.’ How 
completely the acquired sense of the 
term has ousted its proper meaning 
may be seen from the following pas- 
sage: ‘Senate precedent was broken 

in the decision to receive and con- 
sider the [Versailles] Treaty in open 
instead of executive session’ (Am. 
Year-book for 1919, 9). Nothing 
could be more precisely called an 
executive session than a session oc- 
cupied in discussing the confirmation 
of a treaty, but by 1919 the original 
use of the term had completely dis- 

exercises. In the sense of cere- 
monies, this word is found in Eng. 
only in the term religious exercises, 
and even so it sounds rather old- 
fashioned nowadays. In Am. there 
is no such limitation. In describing 
the proceedings when Mr. Hoover 
was formally notified of his first 
nomination to the Presidency, the 
iV.y. Times says: ‘The exercises in 
the stadium began nearly two hours 
before Mr. Hoover was scheduled to 
appear. Four brass bands had a part 
in the preliminary program.’ The 
Springfield Republican, a few years 
ago, mentioned a pageant and tableau 
as ‘the chief feature of the inaugura- 
tion exercises’ of the Lord Mayor of 
London. ‘The new building of the 
High School of Commerce was dedi- 
cated this morning with elaborate 
exercises.’ ‘The opening exercises of 
the Iron and Steel Institute.’ ‘More 
than 1 ,500 members of the Order of 
Eagles were in attendance at the 
imtiation exercises.’ ‘Nassau Hall, 
where the formal exercises opening 
the University for the year were to 
be held’ (D. Lawrence, True Story 
of Woodrow Wilson, 24). See also 


exhibition. In the vocab, of Am. 
education, exhibition is used in a 
different sense from its meaning in 
Eng., where it denotes a sum of 
money given to a student annually, 
for a fixed term of years, to assist in 
defraying his school or college ex- 
penses. ‘The place of the “com- 
mencement ”, as we now know it, seems 
to have been taken during the days of 
parochial schooK by the use of “ exhibi- 
tions” and “public examinations”. 




It was the custom to end the year’s 
work with a public “exhibition”. 
These were programs consisting of 
such items as music, recitations, 
essays, orations, debates, dialogues, 
tableaux, charades, colloquies, and so 
forth; giving the students an occasion 
for public appearance in several 
capacities’ (Prof. L. J. Sherrill, 
Presbyterian Parochial Schools, 117). 
‘They were within the number of 24 
students [at Harvard] who had had 
honors at the several exhibitions up 
to that time’ (Dr. E. E. Hale, Lowell 
and his Friends, 29). ‘There were 
three great days m the college year 
[at Hobart]. First was the Sopho- 
more Exhibition at the end of the 
first term, in which the sophomores 
competed for a small pnze for de- 
clamation. ... At the end of the second 
term came the Junior Exhibition, and 
a competition for original orations’ 
(Dr. W. W. Folwell, Autobiog. 58). 

expansion. The term exparmon 
and its denvative expansionist have 
a spec, reference in Am. to the increase 
of the territory of the U.S. ‘ From the 
beginning the U.S. has been an ex- 
pansionist nation, and its area has 
been increased from 828,000 square 
miles m 1789 to 3,692,000 square 
miles in 1902’ (Prof. A, B. Hart, 
Actual Government, 342). ‘The 
Louisiana purchase nearly doubled 
the area of the U.S., and the nation 
was committed to a policy of expan- 
sion which thereafter was steadily 
pursued’ (Dr. W. MacDonald, Three 
Centuries of Am. Democracy, 110). 

express. In Eng. this word suggests 
speed — ^an accelerated service of 
some sort. To an Am. it suggests 
primarily the carriage of goods or 
parcels by other than a Government 
agency. Thus in Eng. express dc- 
livery means the delivery of letters or 
packets by the Post Office in advance 
of the normal delivery, but in Am. a 
similar service is called special de- 
Iwery, A book by James Branch 
Cabell, incorporating letters he re- 
ceived through the post, has ‘Special 

Delivery’ as its title. Express de- 
livery would be imderstood in Am. to 
mean delivery by a firm of carriers. 

In Am. a business firm of this kind 
is called an express company, ‘The 
very slight effort on the part of ex- 
press companies to find persons, and 
their frequent indifference about 
addresses’ (Prof. R. T. Ely, Evolu- 
tion of Industrial Society, 244). ‘The 
post office is no model for govern- 
ment-run enterprises, yet no one 
would dream of turning it over to the 
express companies which for years 
blocked the enormous boon of parcel 
post’ (Norman Thomas, America’s 
Way Out, 158). The service ren- 
dered by such a company, or the com- 
pany itself, may be called simply 
express, ‘Stowe received a telegram 
saying that $300 had been sent to 
him by express.’ ‘She shipped her 
trunks by express, packed her jewel- 
case and valise, and met Desmond 
at the station’ (R. W. Chambers, 
The Fighting Chance, 405). ‘The 
edition will be limited, and the price 
will be $3. This will include express 
charges, packing in boxes, etc.’ 

Goods consigned to an express com- 
pany are earned on the railways in 
express cars, and collected and de- 
livered by expressmen in express carts 
or express wagons. ‘Two men, said 
to be Baker’s companions, became 
frightened at the large number of 
armed officers entering the express 
car, and made their escape.’ ‘A^ile 
helping an expressman carry her 
trunks to her room, she fell through 
the open trap with the trunk.’ ‘ Every 
side-street rang with the hideous 
clatter of drays and express carts’ 
(Hamlin Garland, The Tyranny of 
the Dark, 245). ‘My trunk is packed 
and already trundled out to the 
express wagon.’ 

Hence the verb express = send hy 
an express company. ‘The trunks 
were expressed to Sullivan County, 
where the honeymoon was to be,’ 

extend, f This term is commonly used 




in Am. where Eng. usage would prefer 
offer or present, ‘ The messages of wel- 
come extended through this journal.’ 
‘President McKinley extended to 
Dewey the thanks of the Am. people 
for “his splendid achievement of over- 
whelming victory’” (Prof. A. B- 
Martin, Hist, of U.S. li. 3G7), 

The Am. use of extended does not 
carry with it any suggestion of con- 
tinuation or prolongation, but is 
simply a synonym for long. It thus 
corresponds largely to the Eng. ex- 
tensive^ full-length, *We present here- 
with extended lists of books recently 
published.’ ‘To familiarize himself 
with the wishes and the economic 
conditions of the country, Washing- 
ton made an extended tour through 
New Eng.’ (Prof. A. E. Martin, Hist, 
of U.S. I. 96). ‘In 1889 he took an 
extended trip to Europe’ (Diet. Am. 
Biog. vi. 363). ‘There must naturally 
anse many issues requiring not only 
consideration but sometimes an ex- 
tended discussion’ (C. A. and W. 
Beard, The Am. Leviathan, 723). 

In Am. extension may denote an 
addition to a house, usually of lower 
elevation than the main building. 
‘The tin roof blew off the extension 
one windy night’ (Ruth Hall, The 
Pme Grove House, 12). An extension 
hag is a bag that may be expanded to 
hold more articles than it normally 
contains. ‘Spring came at last, and 
with the general season arrived, as 
usual, every variety of drummer. 
They came with extension bags filled 
with samples.’ An extension table is 
a table in which a leaf may be in- 


faculty. In an Eng. university a 
faculty is one of the departments of 
its teaching. Traditionally there are 
four faculties — ^Theology, Law, Medi- 
cine, and Arts. In Am, the word 
denotes the whole of the teaching 
staff at a university, college, or school. 

‘Several members of the faculty com- 
plained that they were having trouble 
with students who “asked questions 
out of season’” (L. Steffens, 
Autobiog. 647). ‘The producing 
forces in the college are its faculty, its 
administrative oj&cers, and its trus- 
tees’ (Prof. A. H. Quinn, The Soul 
of Am. 184). ‘In 1891 President 
Jordan chose him to be one of the 
15 professors w'ho formed the onginal 
faculty of Stanford University, ... In 
1901 he resigned from the faculty in 
protest against the dismissal of 
Prof. Edward A. Ross’ (Diet. Am. 
Biog. ix. 277). ‘In order to get the 
class of teachers that he wanted for 
the faculty of the Van Hornesville 
District School it was necessary to 
provide living quarters’ (Ida M. 
Tarbell, Owen D. Young, 285). 

fail. In Eng. and Am. alike, a per- 
son or enterprise is said to fail when 
he or it comes to grief. In Am. failed 
may be applied as an adj. in such a 
case, as though fail were used trans. 
Thus failed = who (or which) has 
failed, ‘The work of examining the 
books of the failed firm will be begun 
to-morrow by the accountants.’ ‘It 
does not follow that the failed author 
IS a bad critic.’ ‘The liabilities of the 
failed banks reached greater totals 
than were recorded for any other 
State in the Union’ (F. L. Allen, 
Only Yesterday, 281). ‘The lia- 
bilities in 1932 amounted to less than 
twice the liabilities of failed enter- 
prises in 1928 and 1929’ (Evans 
Clark, Internal Debts of U.S. 197). 
One may compare the Babu ‘failed 
B.A.’, which is not, however, a pre- 
cisely similar use, as it does not denote 
a B.A. who has failed but a candi- 
date who has failed to become a B.A. 

fair. In the sense of completely^ 
fully, or clearly, distinctly, this word 
is now obs. in Eng., exc, in certain 
dial,, but is still current in Am. ‘She 
threw a stone fair at the motorman’ 
(i,e. straight at). The expression for 
fair in reality, seriously, right 
eneugh, ‘“I seem to be putting my 




foot in it for fair,” said the marine, 
looking discouraged.’ 

flh Am. fairly is current in the 
sense of positively^ actually^ quite. 
‘An impatient spectator began a 
stamping of feet, and this was taken 
up by the rest, fairly shakmg the 
building.’ ‘The pigeons which at 
times fairly darkened the sky in 
flocks which extended from horizon 
to horizon’ (J. Truslow Adams, The 
Epic of Am. 6). ‘Wherever Taft ran 
ahead of Father’s figures, they fairly 
gloated’ (Alice Roosevelt Long- 
worth, Crowded Hours, 156). 

fakir. In Am. this word does not 
always mean an Indian devotee. 
Sometimes it faker. ‘There are 
fakirs as well as real scientists, cranks 
as well as inventors’ (Prol. E. Mims, 
Adventurous Am. 21). The word is 
applied esp. to a street pedlar, who 
goes about selling fakes, or odds and 
ends, largely sham or worthless. 
‘One may see at almost any of the 
downtown corners a street fakir 
selling shoestrings of all colors.’ 
‘They find the patent-medicine fakir 
on his motor-truck still holdmg a 
considerable crowd’ (E. Wilson, 
The Am Jitters, 95). 

fall. In Eng. fall sometimes = 
autumn, but only in some connexion 
where a suggestion of the falling of 
the leaves makes its use appropriate; 
e.g. it might be found in a descrip- 
tion of a country walk taken in 
October. In Am. it is the ordinary 
term for autumn as a chronological 
period, without any thought of what 
may be seen in the woods. ‘With an 
eye to the fall elections.’ ‘The fall 
term of the public schools opened 
Tuesday morning.’ ‘The Union 
Pacific interests quietly commenced 
in the fall of 1900 to purchase the 
Burlington system’ (J. M. Beck, May 
it Please the Court, 335). 
fAm. faJU dawn == Eng, came to 
grie/, fail ‘The architects who are 
rebuilding N.Y. must face that pro- 
blem or fall down on , he job to which 
they set themselves.’ ‘San Francisco 

was falling down esp. in shipbuilding; 
even repair work went elsewhere’ 
(L. Adamic, Dynamite, 202). ‘I saw 
France, making trading consuls into 
diplomats, fall down completely in 
its diplomacy at Buenos Aires for 
that very reason’ (F. J. Stimson, My 
U.S. 375). 

fAm. fall for « Eng. capitulate to. 
‘The Am. Magazine fell violently for 
the idea, and promised to malce a 
serial out of our adventures’ (Upton 
Sinclair, Candid Reminiscences, 
373). ‘The Am. liberals, who so 
easily fall for every new political 
scheme, went over to Bryan on free 
silver almost to a man’ (E" Goldman, 
Living My Life, 179). 

Am. fall over one another = Eng. 
tumble over one another, compete with 
one another. ‘They hand over their 
“good money” in abundance to the 
party of the President, who ex- 
phcitly fall over one another in their 
anxiety to advertise said promise of 

Am, fall over oneself — Eng. be in 
a tremendous hurry. ‘The indepen- 
dent element is not falling over itself 
to come to his assistance.’ ‘Other 
publishers were falling over them- 
selves to get out books which would 
reap an advantage from the craze’ 
(F. L. Allen, Only Yesterday, 191), 

family. When Taft succeeded 
Theodore Roosevelt in the Presidency, 
they ‘had conferred together on the 
matter of the Cabinet, and Roosevelt 
had not asked for the retention of a 
single member of his family’ (H. F. 
Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt, 507). 
The inevitable inference is that the 
Roosevelt Cabinet was a glaring 
example of nepotism — ^inevitable, un- 
less one happens to know that in Am. 
the members of a Cabinet are often 
spoken of as the President’s official 
family. ‘Sherman’s appointment as 
the finance mimster was in conformity 
with the usual desire and practice of 
the chief executive to have at least 
one intimate and trusted friend in his 
official family’ (Prof. D. C. Barrett, 




Greenbacks and Specie Payments, 
194). ‘As for the rest of the Cabinet 
there were many possible choices; so 
many, indeed, that Mr. Wilson did 
not decide on the last one of his 
official family until his inauguration 
day was close at hand’ (W. G. 
McAdoo, Crowded Years, 180). The 
term is also sometimes applied to 
members of the Cabinet of a foreign 
Prime Minister. ‘Clemenceau left the 
heayy feasting to others m his official 
family’ (J. Kerney, Political Educa- 
tion of Woodrow Wilson, 421). 

In Mr. McAdoo’s book there is one 
instance (p. 63) of the inclusion in 
this term of a subordinate Federal 
official outside the Cabinet. ‘In the 
official family of Grover Cleveland 
there was an Assistant Secretary of 
the Navy named William McAdoo.’ 
This extension of the normal use of 
the term, however, is rare. 

In Am. a fan is not only a 
contrivance for providing a current 
of air, but an enthusiastic devotee, 
esp. of games or athletic sports. ‘The 
veteran was in splendid form, and 
when he is that, every baseball fan 
knows that the opposing team has 
little chance to win.’ ‘Senator Harri- 
son and I were both baseball fans’ 
(G. W. Pepper, In the Senate, 84). 
‘None of these men and women 
[rescued from a burning ship through 
a radio message] need again be told 
the value of wireless. They are life 
fans of the art’ (Dr. F. S. Harris, 
Scientific Research and Human Wel- 
fare, 81). ‘Secretary Ickes is a dahlia 
fan! For years his hobby has been 
gardenmg and his speciality has been 
the petaled curls of dahlias’ (R. W. 
Babson, Washington and the Revo- 
lutionists, 127). The word, in this 
sense, is commonly said to be an 
abbreviation of fanatic. It is at least 
possible, however, that it may be an 
extension of one of the ordinary 
meanings of fan; i.e. ‘fig., any agency 
which excites to action or which 
stimulates the activity of a person or 
an emotion, producmg effects ana- 

logous to those of a fan in exciting 
flame’ (Century Diet.). 

farm is sometimes modestly used 
in Am. to denote a country house. 
‘When one of George William Curtis’s 
heroes was invited to spend the Sab- 
bath out of town, he arrived some 
time on Saturday at a country 
“place”; his grandson passes the 
week’s end at a “farm”.’ See 


Another special sense of the word 
is illustrated in the following quota- 
tion. ‘There are many “farms” on 
the waterfront, for a “farm” is simply 
the open shore space in front of a 
dock’ (Ernest Poole, The Harbor, 
322), See also subsistence and town. 

fast is an epithet we apply to a clock 
which indicates a time in advance 
of the correct time. By analogy, the 
same word is applied by Eng. en- 
gineers to any instrument ha\nng a 
dial — e.g. an ammeter may be said 
to read fast — ^and in Am. is com- 
monly used of scales indicating a 
weight which is more than the actual 
weight. ‘Most of the dishonest 
tradesmen are to be found among 
those who do business with poor 
customers who buy in small quanti- 
ties. Such people lose heavily if the 
scales on which their purchases are 
weighed daily are fast only half an 
ounce, and the dealer’s gains are 
correspondingly large at the end of a 

faucet is in Eng. an unusual word 
exc, among engineers. In Am. it is 
the everyday term to denote what in 
Eng. is called a tap. ‘Many of the 
practical details of kitchen equip- 
ment, such as sinks and faucets.’ 
‘The question as to who left the 
faucet running in the bath room’ 
(L. N. Wright, Limbs of an Old 
Family Tree, 148). ‘He was granted 
patents for a sewing machine, a water 
faucet, and a window sash’ (l)iot. 
Am. Biog X. 611). ‘He could turn on 
again instantaneously, as one would 
turn on a faucet all the energies 




which had been arrested’ (Prof. N. W. 
Stephenson, Nelson W. Aldrich, 

favo(u)rite. If one is reading an 
account of the proceedings at an Am. 
national party convention, it is im- 
portant to keep in mind the distinction 
between a favorite and a favorite son, 
A favorite, as defined by Bryce (The 
Am. Commonwealth, ii. 188), is *a 
politician well known over the Union, 
and drawing support from all or most 
of its sections’, whereas a favorite son 
is ‘a politician respected or admired 
in his own State, but little regarded 
beyond it’, ‘The demand made of 
every proposed favorite son, or sud- 
denly unblanketed dark horse, will 
be, “Can he carry N.Y., New Jersey, 
Connecticut, or Indiana?”’ ‘Massa- 
chusetts has a favorite son who may 
be heard from more or less before the 
convention meets.’ ‘Long before the 
expiration of his term of office differ- 
ent parts of the country were recom- 
mending their “favorite sons” for 
the succession’ (Prof. D. S. Muzzey, 
The Am. Adventure, i. 330). 

is used in Am. as a verb 
in the sense of give special prominence 
to. ‘A few schools for girls feature 
domestic training.’ ‘All the papers 
this morning feature the case.’ ‘Dick 
Croker rather liked to see his grizzled 
face in the papers, and published 
a large collection of cartoons that 
featured himself’ (Dr. H. Zink, City 
Bosses in U.S. 33). ‘A landlady who 
features combread and hot biscuits 
will have a Southern clientele’ (F. J. 
Haskin, The Am. Government, 479). 
It may also mean be a prominent 
feature^ of, ‘Evening chapel services, 
at which historical talks were given, 
featoed the opening of Tuskegee 
Institute’s 50th anniversary celebra- 
tion’ (World Almanac, 1932, 104). 

The word is also used as an attrib. 
noun. *An artist who can sketch a 
suitable illustration for every feature 
advertisement’ (E. L. Shuman, Prac- 
tical Journalism, 193). ‘Hearn soon 
gave this up to do feature articles for 

the Cincinnati Enquirer^ (Diet. Am. 
Biog. viii. 485). 

ffeed. In Eng. a farmer feeds 
horses on oats. In Am. he feeds oats 
to horses. ‘ It is cheaper to feed slop 
to a dear, unselfish and modest 
neighbor’s hogs than it is to feed lawn 
grass and flowers to his cows.’ ‘If 
mince pie makes the Mount Holyoke 
girls drowsy after luncheon it ought 
to be fed them at night.’ ‘McCann 
had a hunk of dried buffalo meat, and 
was feeding it to some Indian chil- 
dren’ (Andy Adams, Log of a Cow- 
boy, 336). ‘Horse chestnuts are so 
caUed from being fed to horses’ 
(J. B. Greenough and G. L. Kit- 
TREDGE, Words and their Ways, 365). 

feel, m the sense of examine by 
touching, is in Am. often followed by 
of, ‘The calm camera man, feeling 
of the bulb of his instrument and 
taking sight.’ ‘Feel of their ears now 
and then, for the ear is the horse’s 
thermometer.’ ‘Those of the public 
who begin to feel of their pocketbooks’ 
(Prof. C. E. Merriam, Chicago, 277). 
‘There was a little red hole in his side, 
from which the blood trickled; and 
he felt of it, and poked his finger 
into it, to see where it went to’ (U. 
Sinclair, Manassas, 392). Cf. smell. 

fence. Except in the term barbed- 
wire fence, this word is ordinarily used 
in Eng. of wooden barriers only. In 
Am. it may also denote an iron 
railing, or a wall of bnek or stone. 
‘Why not protect your lawn writh a 
good iron fence?’ (Advt.). ‘A high 
iron fence divides the playground’ 
(C. S. Johnson, The Negro in Am. 
Civilization, 268). ‘The tiny yards 
were separated from the street with 
a brick fence’ (L. N. Wright, Limbs 
of an Old Family Tree, 166). ‘Out of 
N.Y. and New England come reports 
that stone fences are disappearing 
from many farms’ (G. A. Hastings, 
Happy Journeys to Yesterday, 34). 
See SNAKE and spite. 

As a farmer looks after his fences to 
keep his cattle from straying, so a 
Congressman or other official poli- 




. tician in Am. is said to look after his 
fences when he spends time in con- 
ciliating or canvassing voters in his 
distnct (= Eng. nursing his con- 
stituency), ‘ While engaged in securing 
his position in Ohio, he [Sherman] 
had incidentally given utterance to 
a political phrase that has become 
idiomatic. Wlien visiting the State 
in 1879, ostensibly to look after his 
farms, he had protested that he came 
only “to repair my fences”, a term to 
which the newspapers promptly gave 
its present political meaning’ (T. C. 
Pease, The U.S. i. 527). ‘As election 
approaches, members are very im- 
patient to get home and look after 
their fences — that is, to make pre- 
parations for a renomination’ (Prof. 
A. B. Hart, Actual Government, 
229). This use of the term may be 
extended to apply to the precau- 
tionary tactics of leaders outside 
Congress, ‘ For the second time in its 
history, the most conservative labor 
body in the world [the Am. Federa- 
tion of Labor] came near to “cap- 
ture” by the radicals. Thereafter 
Gompers looked to his fences, and a 
battle was on that was not to slacken 
until after 1915’ (L. Syivies and 
T. Clement, Rebel Am. 224), 

fender has a spec, use in the Am. 
automobile vocab., being used to 
denote that part of a car which in 
Eng. is known as the wing» ‘The 
fender at present used by automo- 
biles is intended only to preserve the 
car itself from injury.’ ‘A thousand- 
ton electric shear reduces chassis, 
springs, wheels, fenders and all to a 
junk fodder’ (E. Wilson, The Am. 
Jitters, 87). ‘He couldn’t, just now, 
be very excited about the new fenders 
for the Revelation car’ (Sinclair 
Lewis, Dodsworth, 184). ‘The Buick 
roared forward, kissing Ellery’s right 
fender none too gently’ (Ellery 
Queen, The Siamese Twin Mystery, 

t fetch. In Am. fetch up (intrans.) == 
Eng. end up, finish. ‘He tried again 
and again for the governorship before 

attaining it, and if he tries often 
enough he may fetch up in Congress.’ 
‘“Lord!” he murmured. “I wonder 
where this thing is going to fetch up ” ’ 
(F. Norris, A Deal in Wheat, 48). 

fiat is best known in Am. in the 
compound fiat money, denoting, acc. 
to the Century Diet, ‘paper currency 
issued by a government as money, 
but not based on coin or bullion’. 
Greenbacks is a popular term for the 
same thing. A fiatist is an advocate 
of the substitution of such currency 
for bank-notes as a circulating 
medium. ‘When the first battle was 
fought against greenback or fiat 
money, back in the seventies, what- 
ever they were on the Atlantic Coast, 
they were fiatists in the West.’ ‘The 
Continental Congress went gaily down 
the primrose path of fiat money’ 
(Prof. T. J. Grayson, Leaders and 
Periods of Am. Finance, 16). 

field is used in Am. in certain com- 
binations unknown in Eng, A field 
secretary is an officer of a society 
whose sphere lies m the country — ^in 
visiting branches, in general pro- 
paganda, and so on. He is thus a sort 
of organizing or travelling secretary, 
in distinction from the desk secretary, 
whose duties lie in the office. ‘The 
labors of the field secretary during 
the year have been put forth m 
increasing the membership of the 
society, in visiting and addressing 
important conventions, in the in- 
vestigation of opportunities for found- 
ing branch societies, and in the work 
of organizing the second National 
Peace Congress.’ 

Similarly, a newspaper may have a 
field editor, who is not, as one might 
suppose, the editor of its agricultural 
columns. ‘On a paper covering a 
wide territory there may be an 
assistant editor (sometimes called 
field editor) stationed at each im- 
portant center throughout the coun- 
try’ (H. M. SwETLAND, Industrial 
Publishing, 54). 

Afield study ot field survey means a 
study or survey of concrete facts as 




discovered by investigation on the 
spot. ‘We have as yet no method 
for summing up individual incomes 
into a family income, exc. that of 
direct field studies’ (E. E. Hunt, An 
Audit of Am. 8). ‘There is need of a 
thorough field survey to determine 
how accurate are the homicide re- 
ports now being made to state and 
federal bureaus of vital statistics’ 
(Prof. H. C. Bbeabley, Homicide in 
U.S. 10). 

Am. field strawberry — Eng. wild 
strawberry n ‘ It is said npe field straw- 
berries have never been picked at this 
time of year before.’ 

fierce is a colloq. term in Am. to 
describe something that is painM, 
impleasant, or troublesome. ‘At any 
conversational melee you may learn 
that the weather has been fierce, that 
the last play was fierce, that the 
cradle song at yesterday’s recital was 
fierce, that the servant problem is 
fierce, and that the dinner to-morrow 
night IS likely to be fierce.’ ‘To use 
a Bnticisra, it was “cruel” ; the corre- 
sponding Americanism was more 
appropnate — ^it was “fierce”’ (Jack 
London, People of the Abyss, 150). 
The word is also used as an adv., 
in corresponding senses. ‘I broke a 
finger on my right hand and sprained 
the joint on it too. It ached fierce.’ 

figure. In addition to its Eng. 
senses the figure has commonly 
in Am. the meaning of calculate^ com- 
puie, reckon^ estimate^ even when no 
numerical consideration is involved. 
‘Railroad statisticians have figured 
that the grain traffic for this crop 
year will aggregate 1,500,000 car- 
loads.’ ‘Men in small fishing boats, 
venturing out of sight of land, figure 
how far they are out by tasting the 
water.’ ‘We figured that the entire 
job, as we had planned it, would cost 
$4,000,000’ (W. G. McAdoo, Crowd- 
ed Years, 73), ‘Haywood figured 
that without the cries of hungry 
children the strikers would be able 
to hold out longer’ (L. Adamic, 
Dynamite, 170). 

This meaning of the verb is often 
intensified by the addition of out or 
up. ‘The assessors have figured out 
the tax rate and have found that it 
will be $17 on $1,000.’ ‘At first I 
could not figure out a way, in that 
level country, to approach them near 
enough to give my horse a fair chance 
in a run.’ ‘Have we figured out how 
the National Government would pro- 
ceed if it undertook such an enter- 
prise?’ (C. Nagel, Speeches and 
Writings, 1 . 240). ‘If Ford wants a 
new suit, he gets it, without stoppmg 
to figure up whether he has had a 
good year or not’ (E. A. Filene, 
Successful Livmg in this Machine 
Age, 52). 

To figure on may mean either (1) to 
make calculations respecting, or (2) 
to count on, rely on. (1) ‘The date 
of opening bids was postponed in 
order to give the various steel com- 
panies time to figure on the contract,’ 
(2) ‘This would be an important item 
to a State leader, figuring on con- 
trolling the State delegation.’ 

In Eng. one may speak of cutting 
a brilliant figure or cutting a poor 
figure, but scarcely of cutting no 
figure at all. In Am. this is possible, 
‘Gram speculation is now reviving. 
The price cuts no figure. It is a case 
of shut your eyes and buy.’ ‘Eligi- 
bility is merely a question of scholar- 
ship. Previous deportment cuts no 
figure.’ ‘Religion practically cuts no 
figure as a motive for emigration’ 
(Dr. H. P. Faibchild, Greek Im- 
migration to the U.S. 60). Accord- 
ingly, Am. cuts no figure = Eng. 
counts for nothing. 

file. The verb file is worked very 
much harder in Am. than in Eng. 
In Eng. a business man files his 
papers by putting them away for 
reference in their proper pigeon-hole 
or cabinet, and a lawyer files an 
information or a bill in Chancery. In 
Am. almost any kind of official report 
or statement is said to be filed, and 
the word is often loosely used of the 
formal presentation of a document 




to the official whose duty it will then 
be to place it on his file. ‘The will 
of A. P. Fitch was filed for probate 
in the Surrogate’s office yesterday,’ 
‘Plans were filed to-day, at the 
Bureau of Buildings, for an eight- 
story addition to the Tnbune build- 
ing.’ ‘It was announced at the Dis- 
tnct Attorney’s office to-day that the 
Assistant District Attorney had filed 
his resignation.’ ‘The annual report 
of the police department was filed 
to-day with the mayor.’ ‘The more 
liberal civil service laws permit re- 
moval upon the filing of written 
charges against the employee with 
an opportimity for him to reply’ 
(C. C. Maxey," Outlme of Municipal 
Government, 108). ‘It is the prac- 
tice for the judges who are not in 
accord with the ruling of the majority 
to file a “dissenting opinion’” (C. A. 
and W. Beard, The Am. Leviathan, 
116), ‘The circulars request the 
members who desire tickets for the 
game to file their applications with 
Sie secretary of the Athletic Associa- 
tion not later than Nov. 1.’ ‘Re- 
questing them to file their bids in 
48 hours’ (Prof. M. Pupin, From 
Immigrant to Inventor, 344). In his 
cnticisms of the Am. State Depart- 
ment (My U.S. 298) F. J. Stimson 
complains that it does not read an 
ambassador’s dispatches but ‘files 
them away’. An Eng. writer would 
have been more likely to say that it 
pigeon-holes them. 

filibuster. The word filibustering^ 
not used in Eng. exc. in its original 
sense of buccaneering, has been 
adopted in Am, polities as a technical 
term for obstructive tactics in a 
legislative assembly. ‘In ordinary 
use, the word “filibuster” means to 
act as a freebooter or buccaneer, but 
in parliamentary practice it means 
“to obstruct legislation by imdue use 
of the technicalities of parliamentary 
law or privileges, as when a minority, 
in order to prevent the passage of 
some measure obnoxious to them, 
endeavor to tire out their opponents 

by useless motions, speeches and ob- 
jections”. Frequently, the purpose 
of a filibuster is to call the attention 
of the country m an emphatic way 
to the pohcy of the majority’ (C. A. 
Beard, Am, Government and Poli- 
tics, 273). Ace. to Prof. A. B. Hart 
(Actual Government, 250) ‘filibuster- 
ing differs from obstruction only in 
being more systematic and longer 
continued’. ‘ The Penal Code Bill was 
before the Senate dunng almost the 
entire session Tuesday and was sub- 
jected to filibustering tactics on the 
part of the mmority that resulted in 
almost no progress being made upon 
it.’ ‘The bill passed the House, but 
the opposition in the Senate, by the 
use of the most extraordinary fili- 
bustering tactics, prevented it from 
coming to a vote at that session of 
Congress’ (W. G. IMcAdoo, Crowded 
Years, 297). 

fill. This verb is much more widely 
used in Am. than m Eng. It often 
has the sense, now obs. in Eng., of 
fulfil, ‘It fills every requirement of 
the most advanced ideas in under- 
wear making’ (Advt.). ‘During the 
campaign he filled 125 speaking en- 
gagements’ (D. L. Colvin, Prohibi- 
tion in U.S. 171). It also = Eng. 
make up, in relation to medical pre- 
scriptions. ‘My business was devoted 
almost exclusively to the filling of 
prescriptions wntten by physicians.’ 
‘A prescription which the nearest 
pharmacist might fill easily enough’ 
(Prof. C, E. Merriam, Chicago, 84). 
An Am. dentist fills, not stops, a 
tooth that has a cavity in it. (In 
En^. also fill is the technical pro- 
fessional term, but it is not in popular 
use.) Am* to fi^^ order is to 
execute it. ‘His cars almost sold 
themselves, and he had more orders 
than he could fill’ (E. A. Filene, 
Successful Living m this Machine 
Age, 142). See also bill. 

Am. fill out = Eng. fill up, ‘If the 
editor needs it to fin out the page.’ 
‘The law requires every applicant for 
a license to fill out a blank.’ ‘A lady 




living in a quite inaccessible village 
filled out a coupon’ (Prof. A. Flex- 
NER, Universities, 139). 

Am. fill up = Eng. stujf up, in a 
colloquial fig. sense. ‘Filling him up 
with large tales about dissatisfaction 
in the Citizens’ Union.’ 

In Am. the stuffing of a fowl, turkey, 
&c., IS often called its filling* 

•ffThe term filling station denotes a 
place where a motonst may obtain 
a fresh supply of gas (q.v.). ‘There 
are nearly as many filling stations as 
grocery stores; there is one station 
for every 80 cars.’ ‘Filling stations, 
the wayside temples of Am, life’ 
(C. Morley, John ]Mistletoe, 220). 
‘In that same city a Negro cannot 
get gas at a filling station patronized 
by whites’ (R. R. Moton, What the 
Negro Thinks, 213). 

finding. In an Am. department 
store one may come across a notice, 
‘Shoe Findings’. An inspection will 
show that the term findings includes 
shoe laces, shoe polish, and similar 
accessories. The Century Diet, defines 
the word as meaning ‘the tools, 
appliances, and materials which some 
workmen have to furnish in their em- 
ployment, particularly those used 
by shoemakers; hence shoemakers’ 
supplies m general, except leather’, 
Webster mentions also dressmakers’ 
findings (buttons, linings, &c.) and 
jewellers’ findings (small parts for 
repairing). ‘He began peddling mer- 
chandise, principally watches and 
watch findings, throughout the South- 
ern States’ (Diet. Am. Biog. ix. 408). 
‘The time had passed when the 
farmer had his leaUier worked up 
into shoes by an itinerant artisan. 
In such case the farmer had to pro- 
vide the findings’ (Dr. W. W. Fol- 
WELL, Autobiog. 25). 

fire# The technical terms relating 
to conflagrations differ considerably 
in Eng. and Am, In Eng. a fire de- 
partment IS that department of an 
insurance office which deals with in- 
surances against fire; in Am. it is a 
fire brigade. The members of a fire 

brigade are called in Eng. firemen, 
but m Am. fire fighters. ‘The most 
modern equipment of all kinds should 
be at the command of the fire fighters 
at a moment’s notice.’ One of the 
officers of the brigade has the title 
of fire marshal. ‘The fire marshal is 
investigating a blaze which was dis- 
covered this morning in an apartment 
house.’ The name jire lines is given 
to the cordon drawn by a fire bngade 
around an area within which specta- 
tors are not allowed. ‘During the 
fire a Columbus Avenue open car 
became stalled in the fire Imes.’ See 

also BUG. 

In Am. an incendiary fire is said to 
be set. In Eng. one may say of an 
incendiary that he sets fire to a build- 
ing or that he sets a building on fire, 
but not that he sets a fire. •His em- 
ployees believe that the fire was set by 
hoboes who had been driven out of the 
stable by the night watchman.’ ‘ Two 
fires in tenement house letter boxes 
were set to-day at an early hour.’ 

•f As a verb, Am. fire — Eng. sack, 
dismiss peremptorily. ‘The Office- 
Boy’s Record. Monday, hired; Tues- 
day, tired; Wednesday, fired I’ ‘The 
superintendent declared that he 
would fire any man who joined the 
organization’ (S. D, Spero and A. L. 
Harris, The Black Worker, 434). 
‘Psychiatrists were installed in busi- 
ness houses to hire and fire employees’ 
(F. L. Allen, Only Yesterday, 198). 

first. The j^r^t^oor of an Am. build- 
mg is what would be called the 
ground floor in Eng., and the num- 
bering of the higher floors follows 
acc. to the same reckoning. 

In Eng. one may speak of the first of 
the month, meaning the first day of 
it. In Am. one may speak also of 
the first of the year, or of the week; 
not, however, meaning the first day 
of this penod but the first part 
of it. ‘I once heard Chief Justice 
White say, about the first of the year, 
that if he did not hear another argu- 
ment he could not possibly before 
summer read all the records and 




briefs which had been filed from Oct. 
to Jan,’ (Dr. J. M. Beck, May it 
Please the Court, 27), See also last. 

Am. first name = Eng, Christian 
name, ‘The fact that few men, even 
his most intimate friends, ever ad- 
dressed Harrison by his first name 
showed his aloofness’ (Prof, A. E. 
IVIaetin, Hist, of U.S. ii. 2,30). ‘There 
was always between them a formality 
even when they used each other’s 
first names’ (Sinclair Lewis, Dods- 
worth, 371). ‘Another device to pro- 
mote fellowship was the imposition of 
a ten-cent fine on any member calling 
another “Mister” instead of by his 
first name’ (Rotary? 26). See also 


First, last, and all the time is origin- 
ally a formula used by the spokesman 
of a State delegation at a national 
party convention in putting forward 
a candidate for the Presidential 
nomination. It pledges (or seems to 
pledge) these delegates not to ‘trade’ 
their vote to any other candidate 
while the struggle for the nomination 
is in process. This slogan has also 
come into use as an expression of 
unwavering opinion or policy. ‘Laur- 
ier has stood first, last, and all the 
time for Canada.’ ‘Mr. George Mere- 
dith, of Eng., foreshadows a state of 
society permitting marnage for cer- 
tain limited periods. If this is a move- 
ment to render it legal for Eng. 
noblemen to marry a new Am. heiress 
every little while, we are against it 
first, last, and all the time.’ 

The wife of the President of the 
U.S. is sometimes distinguished by 
the honorific, first lady of the land, or 
first lady, ‘Mrs. Roosevelt observed 
Sunday quietly. In the morning the 
first lady of the land attended church.’ 
‘Mrs. Pierce could never be diverted 
from her all-absorbing sorrow, and I 
shall always remember the gnef- 
stricken expression of this First Lady 
of the Land’ (M. Gouverneur, As 
I Remember, 255). ‘Colonel Harts, 
the President’s aid, entered and an- 
nounced the President and Mrs. 
Wilson. The President, with the 

first lady, entered’ (Dr. Franklin H. 
Martin, The Joy of Living, ii. 155). 
‘She became a social figure of the 
first importance when her husband 
assumed the secretaiyship of state in 
1801. Jefferson was a widower and 
Dolly Madison was in effect the “first 
lady”’ (Diet. Am. Biog. xii. 181). 

fit is spec, used in Am., both trans. 
and intrans., in the sense of prepare 
{for college), ‘Mrs. Roosevelt will 
attend the prizeday exercises at 
Groton School, where her eldest son 
is fitting for college.’ ‘In his 12th 
year Emmons entered the Dixwell 
Latin School. He was fitted for 
Harvard’ (Diet. Am. Biog. vi. 151). 

A school w’hich prepares its pupils 
for college may accordingly be called 
2 L fitting-school, ‘In fitting-school and 
in college he had gone deeply into 
sports.’ ‘The Latin grammar schools 
were essentially fitting-schools for 
the colleges’ (P, E. Sargent, Hand- 
book of Am. Private Schools, 11). 

five. The alternative terms Five 
Nations, Five Tribes, and Five 
Civilized Tribes denote a certain 
group of Indian tribes whose com- 
position, as the following quotations 
show, is variously given. ‘The N.Y. 
Iroquois tribes — ^the Senecas, Cayu- 
gas, Onondagas, Oneidas, and Mo- 
hawks — ^formed, probably about the 
beginning of the 17th century, a very 
powerful confederacy, known to the 
Eng. as “The Five Nations”. The 
descendants of these tnbes still hold 
large tracts in central N.Y.’ (The 
Tuscaroras were subsequently added 
to the original Iroquois confederacy, 
and the term Six Nations then came 
into use.) ‘There are in the five 
tribes — Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, 
Chickasaws and Seminoles — ^between 
80,000 and 100,000 homesteads re- 
resented.’ ‘ The latest Indian budget 

ill authorized the removal of all re- 
strictions upon the alienation of their 
lands by any of the members of the 
Five Civilized Tribes who desired it.’ 

In N.Y. the spot where Worth, 
Baxter, and Park Streets intersect is 




popularly called Five Points. The 
number is five, not six, because 
originally Worth Street only met the 
other two streets and did not run 
across them. At one time the Five 
Points district was proverbial for 
rowdyism and vice, but the character 
of the neighbourhood, like that of 
Seven DicSs in London, has since 
been changed. 

fix. In Eng. the verb fix is com- 
monly restricted to the meanmg of 
establish f make stable, place in a perma- 
nent position. In Am. it is a service- 
able word-of-all-work which saves the 
trouble of finding the spec, term to 
describe almost any kind of adjust- 
ment or repair. As long ago as 1837-8 
Capt. Fredenck Marryat, when travel- 
ling in Am., noted this convenient 
use of the word. He was asked, ‘ Shall 
I fix your coat or your breakfast 
first?* meaning ‘Shall I brush your 
coat or get ready your breakfast 
first?’ ‘He has one tooth that has 
been bothering him for some time, 
and he concluded that he couldn’t 
find a better day to have it fixed than 
on his 88th birthday.’ ‘ “ I wish you 
would ask Irene to fix the hearth fire” 
Evelyn had said to Maria when they 
entered the room, which did seem 
somewhat chilly. Maria asked the 
girl to do so, and when she had gone 
and the fire was blazing Evelyn said 
&c.’ (M. E. Wilkins Freeman, By 
the Light of the Soul, 356). Fix up 
has the same extensive meamng. 
‘The mending of fences, the painting 
of buildings and the general fixmg up 
and beautifymg of bams and sheds.’ 
‘I^ois is having a hard time ob- 
taining a satisfactory primary elec- 
tion law. The first one enacted was 
set aside by the State Supreme Court 
as unconstitutional. It was then 
fixed up to meet the objections of the 

Well Jixed = well-to-do, well off. 
‘He has never since he has been 
in college made any display of his 
wealth, but it Is generally known that 
he is as well fixed as any man in 

the university.’ ‘Most of the men on 
the paper envied him his fame and 
money. Oh, he was well fixed now!’ 
(R. Montague, in The End of the 
World, 50). 

Another Am. colloquialism is fi^ to 
in the sense of attempt to. ‘As they 
started home, one of the men re- 
marked: “What a pretty night! 
The moon is fixmg to shine!”’ 

The fixings of a meal are the ad- 
juncts to, or garnishings of, its main 
ingredient. ‘The clambake, with the 
fixings which accompanied it, was 
pronounced excellent.’ ‘The cran- 
berry season on the Cape Cod bogs 
is reported to have been the poorest 
ever known. Apparently some of the 
fixings for the Thanksgiving turkey 
will come high this year.’ The same 
word may denote trimmings or minor 
articles of clothing. ‘Fall Fixmgs for 
Men’ (Advt.). ‘Of stocks and collars 
and fixings generally for the neck and 
shoulders there is no end.’ 

flag. The verb flag, in the sense of 
signal, is rarely used in Eng. exc. 
with regard to nautical signalling. In 
Am. it is often applied to the stopping 
of a railway train by means of a flag 
or other signal. ‘With a red table- 
cloth she flagged the westbound 
passenger train when it was within a 
few yards of the bridge.’ ‘Harnman 
knew that the express could be flagged 
at Goshen if there were any passengers 
for points west of Buffalo’ (J. K. 
Winkler, J. Pierpont Morgan, 193), 

A flag station is a station at which 
trains stop only when signalled. ‘In 
30 years it has risen from a railroad 
flag station to a place of 100,000 in- 
habitants.’ ‘He lifted him on a 
horse, galloped to the flag station two 
miles out of town, and put him on 
the north-bound train’ (T. Dixon, 
The Clansman, 356). 

For the meaning of flagman, see the 
first quotation. ‘The flagman is the 
rear brakeman on the tram. He runs 
back with the flag when the train is 
stopped for any reasons between 
stations, and when there is heavy 




traffic he aids in collecting the tickets 
and fares.’ ‘A tram had stopped to 
put oif a car, and had just sent back 
a flagman to warn the approaching 
stock train.’ 

On June 14, 1777, Congress adopted 
the Stars and Stripes as the national 
flag. The anniversary of that date is 
accordingly observed as Flag Day, 
‘The Mayor has issued orders that 
flags shall fly from the City Hall on 
June 14 in observance of Flag Day, 
the anniversary of the adoption of 
the flag of the U.S. The Superin- 
tendent of Schools has requested of 
all public schools that part of the 
opening exercises on that day shall be 
devoted to the flag and the honor 
due to it.’ See TAG. 

flannel. The Am, flannel cake is by 
no means as indigestible as it sounds, 
for no woollen ingredient actually 
enters into its composition. It is 
defined by Dr. R. H. Thornton as 
‘a soft thin cake usually eaten with 
molasses’. ‘Your cakes of the buck- 
wheat and “flannel” variety’ (E. L. 
Banks, Autobiog. of a Newspaper 
Girl, 166). 

flash. A technical term of the Am. 
newspaper world, denoting a very 
bnef item, sent over the telegraph or 
telephone wires as a preliminary to 
a ftiller report. ‘ City editors looking 
for a noon-edition flash’ (H. Justin 
Smith, Chicago, 133). ‘It became 
known that the national chairman 
had typhoid fever, and the obituaries 
were rushed into type to be used 
when the flash came’ (H. F. Pringle, 
Theodore Roosevelt, 349). See also 


flat. The table utensils with which 
one eats one’s meals are called in 
Am. flat silver or flat ware^ presumably 
because they lie on the table horizon- 
tally instead of standing up perpen- 
dicularly. Thus an advt. of ‘silver- 
plated flatware’ specifies the articles 
offered as including dessert forks and 
spoons, dinner knives, gravy ladles, 
tea spoons, &c. ‘The parson’s wife 

recalls with a thrill the gift of flat 
silver from the vestry on an anni- 

In the vocab. of Am. railways a 
flat-car is a car that has neither sides 
nor top. ‘A stnng of flat-cars on a 
siding loaded with iron beams and 
pillars.’ ‘The bronzed Korean, the 
queued Chinaman, and the blue-eyed 
yellow-haired Russian soldier arrange 
themselves on an open flat-car in a 
human mosaic of mutual agreeable- 
ness’ (Sen. A. J. Beveridge, The 
Russian Advance, 16). 

Flat-footed is often used in Am. in 
a fig. sense which has nothing to do 
with the literal sense of the term but 
is apparently suggested by the meta- 
phor of ‘putting one’s foot down’. 
Accordingly, it = downright^ thorough- 
going, pronounced. ‘His withdrawal 
this morning is not forcible and flat- 
footed, but of the same halting char- 
acter as his political movements.’ ‘I 
had over 40 dollars, but I only pro- 
mised to loan mine if it was needed, 
while Priest refused flat-footed either 
to lend or bet his’ (Andy Adams, 
Log of a Cowboy, 250). ‘Germany 
came out flat-footed with the belli- 
gerent warning that she would engage 
in unrestricted submarine warfare’ 
(W. G. McAdoo, Crowded Years, 

As a noun, flat may mean (1) an 
expanse of level coxmtry, or (2) a 
flatboat. (1) ‘The hitherto neglected 
pine hills and pme flats along the 
Gulf.’ (2) ‘An observer counted 197 
flats and 14 keel boats that passed 
the falls of Ohio in 2 months’ (Prof. 
A. E. Martin, Hist, of U.S. i. 287). 

flaunt may sometimes be foimd in 
Am. in the sense of flout. ‘Though a 
temperate discussion of the desira- 
bility of birth control, the treatise, 
flaunting many accepted conceptions 
and values of the period, did not 
escape court action’ (Diet* Am. Biog. 
X. 472). ‘Young men and women 
who are tastmg the first heady joys 
of earning their own living are 
not readily amenable to parental 





easy, the te ‘ ■/ ‘ • 

control is V' ^ * ■<>■! 

and F. E. Merrill, Social Dis- 
organization, 573). 

tffleet. The O.E,D. describes as 
‘now rare or dial.’ the use of this word 
to denote ‘a number of persons, 
birds or other objects moving or 
employed in company’. In its Suppl., 
however, it notes the revival of this 
usage m the sense of ‘a number of 
vehicles or aircraft forming a definite 
group or imit’. This revival ori- 
ginated in Am. * Large fleets of trucks 
and automobiles’ (F. J. Haskin, The 
Am. Government, 433). 

flicker. In addition to its Eng. 
mesmingiflicker is in Am. the popular 
name for a sort of woodpecker. ‘The 
flicker is yarmpmg from the cotton- 
wood. He IS full of the spring and 
noisy as a whole congress of black- 
birds, though his note is not mere 
noise, for he has on occasion some 
sense of tune.’ ‘When there was a 
gap m the mountains, he could hear 
the querulous, senseless, love-quarrel 
of flickers going on below him’ (J. 
Fox, jr., The Little Shepherd of 
Kingdom Come, 17). 

float, originated in 

Am. a spec, use of float to denote a 
tableau or show on a moving plat- 
form as part of a procession or parade. 
‘A procession of 50 beautiful floats 
was the first on the program. These 
floats represented the prominent 
business houses of the city and some 
of the fraternal insurance orders.’ 

In the vocab. of Am. polities floater 
is a spec, term for a man who, at an 
election, casts a vote to which he is 
not entitled; so-eaUed because such 
men often float from one election 
district to another on election day in 
order to cast several votes. ‘The 
chief difficulty the authorities have 
to contend with now is the gangs of 
“floaters”. These consist chiefly of 
men brought from near-by cities, 
’“loaned” by brother bosses (for a 

consideration, of course), who vote 
early under the names of legal voters, 
before the latter get to the poUs.’ 
‘There have been cases m which, on 
the day of an election, the party 
heelers on both sides have agreed to 
divide their campaign funds, and let 
the floaters cast their ballots un- 
influenced’ (Prof. A. B. Hart, Actual 
Government, 106). ‘The Conserva- 
tives were powerless before the im- 
portation of “floaters” from a neigh- 
boring State’ (P. Lewinson, Race, 
Class and Party, 47). Cf. repeater. 

floor. In Am. a speaker who takes 
part in a debate is said to be on the 
floor ^ or to get, have, or take the floor, 
‘After Bailey had spoken, Tillman 
got the floor and poured into the 
Congressional Record a carefully 
written account’ (S. H. Acheson, 
Joe Bailey, 30). ‘He [Congressman 
Keith] was not frequently on the 
floor, but was ready with objection 
and effective reply’ (Diet. Am. Biog. 
X. 294). ‘Some diners jumped to their 
feet and demanded the floor’ (E. 
Goldman, Living my Life, 965), 

In an Am. legislative assembly, the 
member who directs the tactics of his 
own party on the floor of the house 
is called its floor leader. In the case 
of the majonty party in Congress the 
limiting word floor is important, be- 
cause the chief leader of that party 
is the Speaker. ‘The seniority rule 
of the Senate made him the Rep. 
floor leader in 1929.’ ‘Mr. Hitchcock, 
who had charge of the Treaty on 
behalf of the President, was for the 
most part the Dem. floor leader’ (Am. 
Year-book for 1919, 3). ‘In con- 
sidering leadership in the House we 
must take account of the floor leader 
chosen by the party caucus. Each 
party has such an agent. It is his 
duty to keep in close touch with the 
rank and fiOte of his party colleagues, 
to learn their opinions, to understand 
their prejudices and ambitions, and 
whenever necessary to “line them 
all up” in support of some measure 
on which the party leaders have 




reached a decision’ (C. A. Beard, 
Am. Government and Politics, 265). 
His duties, accordingly, seem to 
correspond largely to those of the 
Eng. whip. 

Am. floorwalker = Eng. shopwalker, 
‘When a customer asked for Nicho- 
las Nickleby”, she hurried off to the 
floorwalker to learn whether he was 
employed there.’ ‘If you want silk 
goods and you arrive in lingene, the 
thing to do, of course, is to consult 
the floorwalker.’ ‘He had some 15 
minutes before gone in at the same 
doorway, questioned the same floor- 
walker, and he found himself in due 
lime walking amongst a bewildeiing 
lot of models on the third floor’ (W. 
Churchill, Coniston, 310). 

See also first and ground. 

flop. In the vocab. of Am. politics 
the verb flop is used fig., in the sense 
of the Eng. rat, ^vert ‘Much has been 
made of the manner in which a num- 
ber of N.Y. newspapers have flopped 
to his support.’ It may also be used 
trans. ‘The way in which he flopped 
that paper to the most ardent support 
of the Rep. candidate was one of the 
sensations of the last national cam- 

Hence, flopper. ‘There are always 
floppers. The mere circumstance that 
somebody deserts his party and goes 
over to the other proves nothing.’ 

Am. flophome = Eng. doss-house, 
common lodging-house, ‘The flop- 
houses are overcrowded with strong 
Jobless men’ (L. Adamic, Dynamite, 
422). ‘Passmg from bad to worse, he 
sleeps in the flop-house when he has 
a dime’ (M. A. Elliott and F, E. 
Merrill, Social Disorganization, 509). 

flour. The compound flouring-mill 
is peculiar to Am. It denotes a mill 
for makmg flour, as distmct from a 
grist-mill. See GRIST. ‘Fire destroyed 
the large elevator and flouring-mill 
of E. M. Baker and Co. last night,’ 
‘Two considerable flouring-mills have 
been built in Harbin since the author 
was there, one of them, it is said, with 
a daily capacity of several hundred 

barrels’ (Sen. A, J. Beveridge, The 
Russian Advance, 07). 

flunkey. For a special Am. use, 
see quotation. ‘“Flunkeys” in the 
North-west do not wear uniforms; 
their work is to act as assistant cooks 
in mining and lumber camps.’ 

flurry. In addition to its ordinary 
Eng. meanings, jflwrry denotes in Am. 
a sudden shower, usually of snow. 
‘Saturday’s was a real snowstorm 
and not a flurry. It demoralized the 
street railway company and served to 
tie up the Boston and Albany all day.’ 
‘There were several brisk flurries 
during the afternoon, but the snow 
was wet and melted as soon as it 
reached the ground.’ ‘The snow, 
which had begun as an insignificant 
flurry in the morning, developed into 
a storm by afternoon’ (Alice Hegan 
Rice, Sandy, 100). 

flyer. In Am. an express train or 
steamer is sometimes called a flyer, 
‘The day coach on the accommoda- 
tion train was telescoped, as was the 
mail car on the flyer.’ ‘Mr. North- 
brook was coming on the two o’clock 
flyer’ (E. O. White, Lesley Chilton, 

ffolder. In Eng. an instrument for 
folding paper, or a folding case for 
loose papers. In Am. also a small 
pamphlet, usually for advertismg 
purposes, which is not stitched or 
wired but folds up like a map. ‘An 
official exposition folder, containing 
much valuable information about the 
resources of that region, is on file at 
the Interior Department.’ ‘The Am. 
federation began the publication of 
a monthly folder, “The Brotherhood”, 
in Oct., 1905. The publication was 
successful at once, and has now grown 
to magazine size, issued 5 times a 
year.’ ‘As full of extravagant 
descriptions as a travel folder.’ 

font, in Am., sometimes — a fount 
of type, a sense m which it is now 
obs. in Eng. ‘When this uneven 
spacing has been made, the letters in 
some lines seem to belong to different 




fonts’ (T. L. DE ViNNE, Correct I 
Composition, 194). ‘Foster became i 
the pioneer printer of Boston. He 
produced his best work after 1678, 
having in that year acquired a new 
font of long primer’ (Diet. Am. Biog. 
VI. 549). 

fool. Am. retains the practice, now 
obs. in Eng., though still to be found 
in Scottish dial., of considering fool 
an adj. as well as a noun. Walter 
Hines Page is quoted in the Book- 
lovers^ Magazine, Aug. 1904, as saying 
that ‘we have fool politicians and 
fool newspapers’, ‘Some of Mari- 
schal’s fool fends have been pester- 
ing him to come forward as a candi- 
date for the vice-presidency.’ ‘Of 
course, the way I put it, it seems like 
a fool notion.’ ‘We have one city 
after another trying a commission 
form or some other fool idea of 
government’ (L. Steffens, Auto- 
biog. 851). ‘The local banks have 
failed through the speculations of 
some fool gambler in Louisville’ 
(E. Wilson, The Am. Jitters, 104). 

foot. In Eng. to foot a bill is to pay 
it. In Am. there is also current the 
term foot up — add up, tot up, both 
(1) trans. and (2) intrans. (1) ‘He is 
not indulging in glittenng generalities; 
he puts the items all down and foots 
them up.’ ‘His expenditure reached 
figures which surpnsed him when he 
found leisure to foot up his debit 
page’ (F, E. Leupp, Walks about 
Washington, 48). (2) ‘Other articles 
figuring on the debit side of the 
ledger and footing up generous 
totals.’ ‘The receipts for the sale of 
public land now foot up to about 
$3,000,000 a year’ (Prof. A. B, Hakt, 
Actual Government, 337). 

In Eng, footless has only its natural 
meaning of having no feet, lit. or fig. 
Thus Tennyson’s ‘footless fancies’ 
(Maud, xviii. 8) means ‘fancies with- 
out footing or basis’. In Am. — 
possibly through confusion with 
bootless — ^the word has also come to 
mean futile, ‘To seize the mines 
would be about as footless as the 

French attempt to get coal by sending 
soldiers into the Ruhr.’ ‘These foot- 
less errands done, I went up into the 
Senate press gallery’ (L. Steffens, 
Autobiog. 738). ‘I have always 
thought that it was best for the 
President to go to Paris. It is footless 
to speculate now as to what might 
have happened if he had not gone’ 
(Attorney-General T. W. Gregory, 
quoted in The Intimate Papers of 
Col. House, iv. 233). 

‘Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is 
my throne, and the earth is my foot- 
stool’ (Isa. Ixvi. 1). This passage has 
suggested a metaphor in common use 
m Am. as a synonym for the earth. 
Sometimes it appears as God's foot- 
stool, sometimes as the footstool of the 
Almighty, and sometimes as the foot- 
stool simply. ‘To-day we are the 
greatest manufacturing country on 
God’s footstool’ (i.e. imder the sun). 
‘If I were sure of living three or four 
hundred years on this footstool of the 
Almighty’ (L. Mead, Word-Coinage, 
vu). ‘The age-old desire of the land 
worker to own that part of the foot- 
stool which he tills.’ 

force. In Am. the term force MU 
is popularly used to denote a measure 
of a coercive nature, esp. one which 
authorizes the President to employ 
troops to secure its enforcement. 
‘There is in the Am. nation a fixed 
hostility to the employment of troops 
at polling-places. Every administra- 
tion which has ever passed a force 
bill, or even made a senous endeavor 
to do so, has lost the House of Repre- 
sentatives at the next election.’ ‘All 
the congressional districts of the 
South exc. four sent [m 1878] Demo- 
crats up to Washington. These men 
were determined to repeal the Federal 
election laws, or “Force Bills”, which 
provided for the supervision of elec- 
tions by appomtees of the Federal 
courts and empowered the Federal 
marshals and deputy marshals to use 
soldiers to keep order at the polls’ 
(Prof. D. S, Muzzey, The Am. Ad- 
venture, ii. 119). 




fore. The word forehanded^ now 
obs. in Eng., is still current in Am. in 
the sense of •well-to-do, prosperous, 
‘He became a very forehanded man 
at one time; travelled about in 
private cars and gave other e\ndences 
of opulence.’ 

Another compound, also obs. in 
Eng. but survi\nng in Am., is fore- 
room, meaning front room. ‘Low, 
white cottages, of winch the fore- 
rooms, at least, wrere as if sealed in 
perpetual slumber.’ 

foreign. In Am. not only belonging 
to another country, but, m one con- 
nexion, belonging to another State. 
‘A favorite device is to lay a lower 
tax on corporations chartered by a 
state than on “foreign corporations”, 
a legal term which includes all cor- 
porations chartered by other states 
but doing business in the state con- 
cerned’ (Prof. A. B. Hart, Actual 
Government, 387). ‘As each state of 
the U.S. has plenary incorporating 
power, a corporation incorporated in 
one state was early and still is held 
to be foreign with respect to all 
others’ (Encycl. Soc. Sei. vi. 354). 
This use of the term seems to be con- 
fined to the particular instance men- 
tioned. In some Eng. dial, the word 
foreigner may be applied to a person 
not living in the immediate neigh- 

former is often used in Am., in 
place of Ex-, as a prefix to a title. 
‘Former President Grant, as Special 
Commissioner, negotiated such a 
treaty with the Mexican representa- 
tive’ (C. P. Hottland, Survey of 
Am. Foreign Relations, 1931, 57). 
‘Former Ambassador White was not 
a partisan’ (D. Lawrence, True 
Story of Woodrow Wilson, 245). 
‘The opposition to the idea of a 
league of nations expressed by former 
Senator Bevendge’ (W. S. Holt, 
Treaties Defeated by the Senate, 251). 

four hundred. See first quotation. 
‘A chance remark of McAllister in 
1890 that about four hundred people 

in N.Y. comprised the inner circle 
gave coinage to an expression which 
became synonymous the country over 
for the smart set. Every considerable 
city soon had its “Four Hundred”, 
and local newspapers vied with their 
N.Y. contemporaries in givmg pro- 
minence to society news’ (Prof. A. M. 
ScHLESiNGER, The Risc of the City, 
153). ‘Indulgent acceptance of Euro- 
pean snobbishness becomes the easier 
m view' of the wide interest bestowed 
on our own mushroom “four him- 
dred”, and, indeed, on any person 
who offers the slightest pretext for 
notoriety.’ ‘People in Edgham aped 
society, they even talked about the 
“four hundred”’ (M. E. Wilkins 
Freeman, By the Light of the Soul, 
03). ‘Who are the four hundred in 
N.Y.’s colored society? An outsider 
w'ould be very bold w'ho should at- 
tempt to answer. Tw'enty-five years 
ago the New Yorker born, esp. the 
descendant of some prominent anti- 
slavery worker, would have held fore- 
most social position’ (Mary W. 
OviNGTON, Half a Man, 176). 

frame. This word is found in Am. 
in various compounds such as frame 
building, frame cottage, frame dwelling, 
and frame house, which denote a 
rustic building constructed with a 
skeleton frame of timber and usually 
covered in also with wood, often in 
the form of shingles. ‘Our [college] 
chapel was a small frame building 
with a bell in the tower’ (Julia B. 
Foraker, I Would Live it Again, 63). 
‘It was a small, plain, frame cottage, 
such as a village carpenter might 
build’ (Hamlin Garland, Roadside 
Meetmgs, 69). ‘Walter’s father built, 
in front of this, a two-story frame 
dwelling’ (B. J, Hendrick, Earlier 
Life of Walter H. Page, 13). ‘The 
growing popularity of brick and the 
popular interest taken in concrete 
construction go to indicate that the 
era of feame houses in the U.S. is 
beginning to pass.’ ‘No sooner had 
the people of each colony overcome 
the initial difficulties of settlement 




than they began building substantial 
frame houses’ (T. J. Wertenbaker, 
The First Americans, 286). ‘With 
the fee received from one of his 
earliest important cases he purchased 
a modest frame house in an im- 
fashionable part of Springfield’ (W. E. 
Curtis, The True Abraham Lincoln, 

fAm. frame-up = Eng. trumped-up 
charge* ‘They were taking the view 
that the McNamaras were innocent 
and the case against them a frame- 
up’ (Lincoln Steffens, Autobio- 
graphy, 659). ‘From the beginning 
there could be no doubt that it was 
a frame-up. The crime and the 
alleged criminals simply did not fit’ 
(L. AoAjnc, Dynamite, 312). A per- 
son who becomes the victim of such 
a charge is said to be framed. ‘ Gover- 
nor Roosevelt pardoned 6 N. Y. City 
women who had been “framed” by 
the police vice squad’ (World Al- 
manac for 1982, 94). 

franchise. In G. A. Birmingham’s 
novel, The Lost Tribes, Mr. Mervyn, 
an Irish Protestant clergyman, mis- 
understands a reference made to ‘the 
franchise’ by Bobby Sebright, an 
Am. journalist. To Mr. Mervyn the 
word means the power of voting. 
Bobby explains that ‘on our side 
franchise means sole right of rimning 
street cars, electric light, telephones 
and general public conveniences 
granted by State Congress (szc) or 
other representative authority in 
return for considerations of value 
given by appheant financiers to ward 
bosses’. It is thus equivalent to what 
in Eng. would be called a commercial 
privilege or concession. In Eng. the 
word is sometimes used in a sense 
akin to the Am., but only in legal 
documents. If we hear of a debate 
in Eng. on the franchise question, we 
may infer that the topic of discussion 
has been a matter connected with the 
suffrage. In Am. it would mean a 
discussion of the grantmg of privi- 
leges by public bodies to private 
companies. ‘There had been political 

corruption in the granting of fran- 
chises in Eng. as well as in our own 
coxmtry, in the early days of railroad 
development.’ ‘To release itself from 
dependence upon private water com- 
panies has taken the City of London 
a great many years and cost it a great 
deal of money. The franchises of the 
water companies suppljung London 
had become very valuable.’ ‘Fran- 
chises of one kind and another won 
over the street railways and many of 
the public service corporations to the 
support of the Magee-Flinn organiza- 
tion’ (Dr. H. Zink, City Bosses in 
U.S. 126). 

The word also denotes membership 
of the organization of newspapers 
known as the Associated Press. 
‘Every newspaper havmg an Associ- 
ated Press franchise contributes its 
share toward the expense of employ- 
ing agents in the various cities.’ ‘He 
was sent to N.Y. in order to secure 
a press association franchise for the 
new journal’ (Prof. G. R. Geiger, 
The Philosophy of Henry George, 88). 

fraternity. In Eng., except in its 
abstract sense, this word denotes a 
religious brotherhood. The Am. frater- 
nity IS an organization of students, 
usually designated by two or more 
Greek letters (e.g. the Phi Beta 
ICappa) and existing in the form of 
separate chapters in many colleges. 
There are in all about 250 fraternities 
and sororities (the similar orgamza- 
tions of women students) with 5,910 
chapters. ‘In Balhol there are three 
debating clubs, and they are of course 
in some sense rivals. Like the 
fraternities in an Am. college, they 
look over the freshmen each year 
pretty closely’ (J. Corbin, An Am, 
at Oxford, 54). Mr. Corbin tells us 
that ‘the fraternity houses so widely 
diiEfused in Am. offer almost a coun- 
terpart of the halls of the golden age 
of the mediaeval university’ (op. cit. 
269). ‘These very friends gathered 
to form the first chapter of a Greek 
letter fraternity at our college and — 
left me out. I did not know then 




that the fraternities do not admit 
Jews’ (L. Lewisohn, Up Stream, 89). 
‘Harvard had never wholeheartedly 
adopted the fraternity system which 
filled the social wants of under- 
graduates in most of the colleges’ 
(H. J. CooLiDGE and R. H. Lord, 
Archibald Cary Coolidge, Cl). The 
word is popularly abbreviated to 
fraU See also key. 

A fraternity must be distinguished 
from 0 . fraternal order, the Am. equiva- 
lent of the Eng. friendly society, 

fraud. A term peculiar to Am. is 
fraud order, whose meaning is suffi- 
ciently indicated in the follo^vmg 
quotations. ‘Congress has enacted 
that any person or company which is 
obtaining money or property through 
the mails by means of false or 
fraudulent pretenses or promises, 
may be barred from the use of the 
mail entirely. Under a “fraud order” 
all mail directed to such person or 
company is stamped “Fraudulent” 
on the outside and returned to the 
sender’ (C. Kelly, U.S. Postal 
Policy, 150). ‘It is often impossible 
to prosecute the advertisers, and the 
most the post-office department can 
do is to issue what is known as a 
fraud order. Such an order peremp- 
torily and without redress stops the 
mail of the advertiser’ (E. E. Calkins 
and R. Holden, The Art of Modem 
Advertising, 258). 

freight. In Eng. this term is ap- 
plied to goods transported by w*ater 
only. In Am. it includes land trans- 
I>ort also. ‘Much of the traffic on 
state highways consists of heavy 
trucks conveying freight for profit’ 
(Cassius M. Clay, The Mainstay of 
Am. Individualism, 208). Thus 
freight train = goods train; freight car 
= goods wagon; freight depot = goods 
station; and freight yard = goods 
yard, ‘Two freight trains on the 
Pennsylvania Railroad crashed to- 
gether early to-day.’ ‘It would re- 
quire a railway caravan of 14,000 
freight cars to carry the machines 
from the factory to the farmers’ 

(H. N. Casson, Life of C. H, 
McCormick, 106), ‘Two youths were 
seen prowding about the freight y^ards 
of the N.Y. Central,’ The verb 
freight has a similar extension of 
meaning. ‘Wagon teams met the 
steamer, and freighted goods far 
across the deserts to mines in 

Accordingly the occupation of a 
freighter may be a landsman’s job. 
A member of Congress, in an auto- 
biographical notice supplied to the 
1903 Congressional Directory, says 
that he ‘worked on his father’s farm 
imtil the age of 14, when he took up 
the business of freighter, and for 
several years carried goods and 
miners from the end of the railroad in 
Nebraska to the mining and cattle 
camps m the Black Hills.’ And Andy 
Adams (The Log of a Cowboy, 334) 
describes certain men as ‘fine types 
of pfo-'f’T b’l’^^ers, freigh- 

tc < “r* I <*! I rl ' .1 ( m’. 

J */'./ ' abbrcv. to 

freight, ‘He saw the fast freight 
approach at high speed.’ ‘He roused 
irate travelling-men for the 4.14 
freight to Waterbury’ (Sinclaik 
Lewis, Work of Art, 41). 

See also elevator and ship. 

fresh. Sir J. Foster Fraser has con- 
fessed to his embarrassment when one 
morning in N.Y. he told a young 
woman that she was looking very 
fresh, and found that he had to 
apologize for a remark that he had 
intended as a compliment {Evening 
Standard, July 12, 1926). In Am. 
fresh — forward, saucy, presumptuous. 
This use seems to be an appropriation 
of the German frech, assimilated to 
Eng. pronunciation. Cf. dumb. In 
colloq. Eng. fresh has the qmte 
diiferent meaning of exhilarated by 

In Am. the term freshman may be 
applied to school pupils as well as 
college students. ‘He would have 
given the tests to the second-year 
pupils or at least the freshmen of the 
high school.’ 




The term freshwater college is often 
used in Am. to denote a compara- 
tively small college. It is so called, 
acc. to Webster, because the first 
large Am. colleges were situated on 
the seaboard, ‘We seldom read of 
magnificent gifts to the smaller 
“freshwater” colleges in the U.S.; 
but graduates of these institutions 
hold their own in competition.’ 
‘GreeneviUe College, a little “fresh- 
water” institution near the banks of 
the Nolichucky River ’ (L. P. Stryker, 
Andrew Johnson, 4). ‘Just as, m 
Great Britain, he could not be per- 
suaded to increase the emoluments of 
Oxford and Cambridge, but concen- 
trated on the four Scottish univer- 
sities that drew their students from 
the cottage and the city, so, in the 
United States, it was the “fresh- 
water” college, engaged, for the large 
part, in framing the sons and daugh- 
ters of farmers and the proletariat, 
which received the most friendly con- 
sideration’ (B. J. Hendrick, Life of 
Andrew Carnegie, 602). 

frills is not unknown in Eng. in the 
sense of affectations (e.g. putting on 
frills), but its fig. use IS wider in Am., 
where it may denote showy accom- 
plishments or unnecessary adornments, 
‘The quiet village street pleased him. 
So did the house, massive but with 
no undemocratic frills about it.’ ‘No 
Frills on Trains’ is the headline of a 
newspaper paragraph reporting the 
decision of a railway company not to 
use gold leaf any longer in numbering 
its engines. ‘There were no frilS 
then, such as physical culture, 
manual training and the like’ (M. 
Gotjverneur, As I Remember, 24). 

frontier. ‘By 1860 the frontier had 
advanced to a line running comcident 
with the western borders of Minne- 
sota and Iowa, across the center of 
Nebraska and Kansas, and thence 
southward through approximately 
the middle of Texas’ (Prof. A. E. 
Martin, Hist, of U.S. ii, 105). This 
passage is likely to bewilder any Eng. 
reader who is not aware of the 

peculiar Am. meaning of frontier. 
What foreign country, he will ask, 
abutted on Minnesota as recently as 
1860? The explanation is that, while 
in Eng. frontier means a boundary 
between two countnes, or the tern- 
tory adjacent to the boundary line on 
either side, in Am. it is used to denote 
the limit of settlement within the U.S., 
as defined by a certain density of 
population. Thus, in lus Oxford Hist, 
of the V,S, (i. 3, footnote) Prof. S. E. 
Morison warns his readers ; ‘ Frontier, 
wherever found in this book, will be 
understood as havmg exclusively the 
Am. connotation. For the interna- 
tional frontier the word boundary is 
used.’ Those who are interested in 
the subject will find in The Frontier 
in Am, Hist,, by Prof. F. J. Turner, 
an illuminating study of the move- 
ment of this imaginary line from 
generation to generation. A briefer 
accoimt is F. L. Paxson’s article in 
the Encycl, Soc. Sd,, vol. vi. 

The following examples illustrate the 
Am. usage. ‘Northampton, though a 
frontier town, was [in 1727] one of 
the most aristocratic and prosper- 
ous communities outside of Boston’ 
(Prof. H. W. Schneider, The Puntan 
Mind, 102). Walter Hines Page, 
returning in 1883 to his native State, 
N. Carolina, after nearly five years’ 
absence, writes: ‘It occurred to me 
for the first time that this region is 
yet a frontier — ^a new land untouched 
except by pioneers, pioneers who 
had merely lingered until they had 
thought the land worn out’ (B, J. 
Hendrick, Earlier Life of Walter H. 
Page, 161). ‘The life was a mixture 
of frontier and civilization’ (P. J. 
Stimson, My U.S. 14). ‘The penalty 
of the frontier, wliich exalts the 
hardier virtues, lies m its depreciation 
of qualities which are not immediately 
serviceable’ (L. Einstein, Roosevelt, 

Hence frontiersman, ‘He was a 
typical frontiersman of the older sort. 
Standing 6 feet, broad-shouldered, 
ruddy-faced, with abundant curling 
hair worn long at the back, he was 




of the truculent, animal tribe.’ ‘Be- 
cause of their isolation, the frontiers- 
men developed self-confidence and 
practical economic, social, and politi- 
cal equality’ (Prof. A. E. Martin, 
Hist, of U.S. 1 . 23). 

fry. For fry the fat, a term of the 
Am. political vocab., see quotations. 
"‘"Fat-fr^nng” is a figure of speech — 
in politics. It IS a fact in hog-killing. 
It owes its use or vogue to the car- 
toonists. They made it form an idea 
to the mind by flashing it on view 
as a picture to the eye. As the “fat” 
is “fried” out of hogs for a distinct 
use, so were, so are, campaign con- 
tributions “fried out” of big busmess 
men w’ho feel dependent on “govern- 
ment” for favors.’ ‘It is reported 
that the chairman of the Rep. 
national committee is disheartened 
because his new frying pan won’t 
work. It is stated that the trusts and 
corporations and capitalists refuse to 
have the fat fried out of them, and 
that the Rep. campaign is already 
on the point of collapse.’ ‘All the 
‘"frymg of fat” out of protected 
manufacturers has gone upon the 
understanding that large subscrip- 
tions to a party fund carry with them 
the right to dictate the laws affecting 
the busmess of the subscribers.’ 

tfludge. In addition to the Eng. 
meaning of fabrication or nonsense, 
this word denotes in Am. a sweet- 
meat made of sugar in many varieties. 
‘Apple butter, chocolate fudge — 
dainties that usually require careful 
watching and constant stirring.’ ‘The 
student’s college work is better done 
without a running accompaniment of 
fudge and other between time things 
to eat.’ 

fundamental. For the Am. deri- 
vative Fundamentalist see the first 
quotation, ‘Those who believed in 
the letter of the Bible and refused to 
accept any teaching, even of science, 
which seemed to conflict with it, 
began in 1921 to call themselves 
Fundamentalists’ (F. L. Axuen, Only 

Yesterday, 199). ‘They make selec- 
tive appeals; one, for example, to 
fundamentalist constitutents, an- 
other to people of advanced theologi- 
cal position’ (H. Paul Douglass, 
Church Comity, 149). 

ffuneral. In Eng., restricted to the 
actual interment, together with the 
ceremonies at the graveside. In Am., 
applied also to ceremonies that may 
take place at a different time and 
place. Thus, on the death of a 
Senator, a newspaper announces : 
‘An official funeral will be held in the 
Senate chamber to-morrow at two 
o’clock, and the body will be taken 
to Tennessee to-morrow evening.’ In 
connexion with the death of another 
Senator, it is announced that ‘as the 
weather was cold and cloudy to-day, 
it was decided to hold the funeral in 
the armory, instead of on the lawn 
of his home, as had been intended.’ 
Another paper reports that the 
funeral of a young Springfield woman, 
who had died in a N.Y. hospital, 
w^as ‘‘held Sunday afternoon at the 
home of her motner’. On the death 
of President McKinley the Mayor of 
N.Y. appealed to the Secretary of 
State that the arrangements for the 
obsequies might ‘include a public 
funeral in this city’. The Diet, of 
Am, Biog, tells us that on the death 
of C. W. Eliot, ex-President of Har- 
vard, ‘his body vras brought to 
Cambridge, and after a funeral in 
Appleton Chapel was interred in IMt. 
Auburn Cemetery’. ‘The funeral was 
held in the room where Mrs. Rock- 
feller died’ (J. T. Flynn, God’s Gold, 

Am. funeral director or mortician = 
Eng. undertaker, 

furnishings. This word, in com- 
mon use in Am., does not precisely 
correspond to the Eng. furniture. It 
includes a great many articles of 
household equipment that would not 
come imder that term. ‘The police 
have found the robbers who have 
been stripping partly completed 
houses of lead pipes, telephone wires. 




gas and water fixtures, and other 
furnishings.’ ‘To none of his furnish- 
ings had he given naiore careful thought 
than to the rugs’ (Prof. N. W. 
Stephenson, Nelson W. Aldrich, 
407). ‘The case had its origin in an 
investigation of the Commission into 
the house-fiirmshings industry. One 
section of the report was devoted to 
aluminum kitchen utensils’ (T. C. 
Blaisdell, The Federal Trade Com- 
mission. 240). There is an Eng. ap- 
proximation to this use in the term 
soft furnishings^ sometimes used m 
shops to denote curtains, &c, 

fuse, fusion. In Am. these terms 
are used not only m the lit. sense, as 
m Eng., but fig. of a political com- 
bination between different parties. 
What in Eng. is called a coalition 
gffoernment would become in Am. a 
fusion administration, ‘The next year 
the factions fused and elected a com- 
promise ticket with Simth Ely as 
mayor’ (Dr. H. Zink, City Bosses in 
U.S. 122). ‘There is actual fusion in 
one State only, Nebraska, where the 
Democrats and Populists agreed upon 
a common ticket.’ ‘In Texas, a 
Rep.-Populist fusion elected two 
Congressmen’ (L, JM. Hacker and 
B. B, Kendrick, The U.S. smce 
1865, 808). 


fgainful. In Eng., where the use 
of gainful is rare, the idea expressed 
in -ful is prominent. It is thus a 
synonym for lucrative or highly 
remunerative. In Am., on the other 
hand, it does not suggest more than 
the receipt of payment for services 
rendered — ^payment, indeed, which 
may not supply more than a bare 
livelihood. Hence Am. a gainful 
occupation = Eng. a paid occupation, 
‘In Iowa the proportion of women 
engaged in gainful occupations is 
increasing at a rapid rate,’ ‘Not 
forced by circumstances to enter a 
gainful occupation, he followed his 

scholarly bent’ (Diet. Am. Biog. ix, 
191). ‘There are nearly 30 imllion 
human beings in Europe and Am. 
who are able and wiUmg to work but 
who are not able to find gainful 
occupation’ (Dr. N. M. Butler, 
Looking Forward, 115). There are 
signs that this term is coming into 
use in Eng. in the Am. sense. Though 
not recogmzed by the 0,E,D, or its 
Suppl., the expression appears in an 
official volume of statistics, published 
in 1934, concerning the census of 1931. 

gait. In Eng., manner of walking 
or stepping. In Am. pace also. 
‘Sometimes Schwartz [a motorist] 
was passed by faster travelers ; occa- 
sionally he passed machines not main- 
taining his gait.’ ‘The horses were 
capable of a faster gait without 
tiring’ (Andy Adams, The Outlet, 
311). ‘Driving the horse at his ut- 
most speed for short distances, in- 
stead of the usual practice of driving 
longer distances at a slower gait* 
(G. T. Clark, Leland Stanford, 354). 

gall, when used fig., denotes in Eng. 
rancour^ but in Am. presumption, 
impudence. Thus, Lincoln Steffens 
(in McClure’s Mag., Oct. 1903) records 
that a certain leader of a reform 
movement in municipal politics sent 
to the ward leaders on both sides 
for their lists of captains, lieutenants, 
and heelers. ‘They refused, with 
expressions of astonishment at Ms 

gallon. When Am. motorists cross 
the border into Canada for the first 
time, they are annoyed at being 
charged more per gallon for their 
GAS. They soon discover, however, 
that its price is not really higher, for 
the Canadian gallon is identical with 
the British imperial gallon, with a 
content of 277i cubic inches. The 
standard Am. gallon is the old Win- 
chester gallon, or wine-gallon, con- 
taining 231 cubic inches. 

See PINT and quart. 

game. The charge is sometimes 
brought against Am. sport that it is 




obsessed by the competitive spint, 
so that sheer enjoyment of the fun 
of the thmg is almost dnven out by 
an inordinate desire to win. If one 
were to take their vocabularies as 
evidence, however, one would infer 
that the competitive element was 
more prominent m Eng. than in Am. 
In football, for instance, an English- 
man speaks of the Oxford and Cam- 
bridge match* An Am. would speak 
of the Oxford and Cambndge ga/ne. 
Thus a newspaper refers to ‘the place 
from which the midshipmen’s foot- 
ball squad comes to the annual Army 
and Navy game.’ ‘One day in Nov., 
1908, I went to Princeton to see the 
Prmceton-Yale football game’ (W. G. 
McAdoo, Crowded Years, 115). ‘The 
homecommg of the victors of the 
World Series of baseball games’ 
(Sen. H. B. Hawes, Phihppine Un- 
certainty, 26). 

See also confidence and shell* 

gang by no means invariably de- 
notes in Am. a number of men asso- 
ciated for a criminal purpose. It is 
the common term for a group of boys 
who habitually play together and 
otherwise take pleasure in each 
other’s society. ‘Nothing is more 
forlorn than the boy who has no gang 
at whose fire of friendship he may 
warm himself’ (Jane Addajvis, The 
Second 20 Years at Hull-House, 364). 
‘An Eastern family of boys came to 
Sacramento, and they fascinated me 
and my gang’ (L. Steffens, Auto- 
biog. 99). ‘It is essential to distin- 
guish between the juvenile or ado- 
lescent gangs, which, although under 
the sorry auspices of modem slum 
life, must be considered as recreation 
groups, and the adult criminal groups’ 
(Encycl. Soc. Sci. vi. 565). 

Hence the verb gang in a corre- 
sponding sense. ‘He [Woodrow 
Wilson when a boy] was frail and 
never ganged with Ms fellows’ (W. A. 
White, JVlasks in a Pageant, 348). 
The derivative gawgsicr, on the 
other hand, always denotes a member 
of a company of violent criminals. ‘ As 

a troUey-car was passing along First 
Avenue, it found itself between two 
crowds of fighting gangsters on oppo- 
site sides of the street.’ ‘Chicago has 
never rested lightly whether under 
the yoke of its gangsters, its public 
utilities, or its reformers’ (Prof. C. E. 
aiERRiAM, Chicago, 303). 

garbage. In Am. this word is spec, 
used to denote a certam variety of 
house refuse, as thus defined: ‘Re- 
fuse generally is of three types: 
garbage, ashes, and rubbish. The 
terra garbage is properly employed 
to mean kitchen wastes, such as the 
meat, frmt, and vegetable matter 
leftover in the preparation of food; 
it is always in some state of de- 
composition, and the odors which 
arise from it are disagreeable. Rw&- 
Msk includes papers, bottles, metals, 
rags, crates, cartons, bits of wood and 
similar objects ; it is, as a mass, readily 
burned. The term ashes is, of course, 
confined to the products of combus- 
tion of coal and other fuel. . , . The 
city [of N.Y.] requires that the three 
classes of refuse he kept separate at 
the households, so that they may be 
collected separately and their dis- 
position facilitated’ (N.Y. Times, 
May 24, 1931). ‘Some mumcipalities 
have a separate collection for ashes, 
garbage and other rubbish, while 
others have all put together and taken 
up at one collection* (H. M. Pollock 
and W. S. Morgan, Modem Cities, 

Hence garbage barrel, garbage can, 
and garbage wagon* ‘When I de- 
scribed the wretched condition of the 
prodigal son, a girl wondered why 
he didn’t search the garbage barrel 
for something to eat.’ ‘One pnme 
fundamental of every restaurant 
business is the garbage can,’ ‘An old 
billy-goat prospecting m garbage cans 
along the alleys’ (IVIark Sullivan, 
Our Times, iii. 384). ‘It does look 
like a shame to let Park Avenue 
remain a roadway for store tmcks, 
garbage wagons, and other dis- 
agreeable thmgs on wheels.’ 




gas. ‘British Gas Will Invade New 
England’ was the heading of a news 
item in the Springfield Weekly Re- 
pubhcan of July 12, 1928. This would 
leave an Eng. reader completely 
mystified as well as startled until he 
recalled that in Am. gas is used, in 
addition to its other meanings, as an 
ahbrev. of gasoline, the Am. term for 
petroL The headline in question pre- 
faced a report that the Royal Dutch 
Shell combine was about to mvade the 
New Eng. territory, for years one of 
the Standard Oil strongholds. ‘The 
old Ford rocked and rattled as I gave 
It gas.’ ‘Apartment houses, office 
buildings, traffic lights and gas 
stations are doing all they can to 
modernize it’ (Prof. V. L. Collins, 
Pnnceton Past and Present, 8). 
R. R. Moton (What the Negro 
Thinks, 213) mentions a city where 
‘a Negro cannot get gas at a fillmg 
station patronized by whites’. 

fHence step on the gas = apply ike 
accelerator, and hence, fig., quicken 
one’s pace, hurry up, ‘Many of the 
critics who protest against deliberate 
action on the part of the Senate are 
not interested in brakes. They want 
to step on the gas’ (G. W. Pepper, 
In the Senate, 20). 

In Am. gas tank is the usual name 
for the reservoir of gas known in Eng. 
as a gasometer, ‘A desolate seductive 
scenery was evolving out of factories 
and railroad yards — out of lonely 
wooden viaducts, drums of gas tanks, 
^c.’ (D. Dudley, Dreiser and the 
Land of the Free, 58). 

gate. Am. get the gate = Eng. be 
shomn the door, get the sack, ‘There 
are only two choices: either to give 
in and allow one’s self to become 
stereotyped and vapid, or to stand 
out against it and get the gate’ (E. 
Wilson, The Am. Jitters, 245). 

gem. An Am. gem is not always a 
precious stone. It is sometimes a 
kind of light muffin. ‘Muffins, gems, 
sally lunns, and other light breads’ 
(Mrs. Rorer’s New Cook Book, 19). 
•* Maria took her place at the table. 

“Those gems look delicious” she 
observed. . . . Maria laughed, and 
buttered a gem’ (Mary E. Wilkins 
Freeman, By the Light of the Soul, 

general is not a normal rank in the 
Am. army, but is held only, when 
specially conferred upon him by 
Congress, by the officer who is at the 
time chief of the staff. The list of 
‘highest ranking officers in the U.S. 
army’ given in the 1934 World 
Almanac consists of one general, 35 
major-generals, and 59 brigadier- 
generals. Acc. to the same authority 
there have been only nine holders of 
this rank since 1775. See lieutenant. 
The title, however, is freely claimed 
and used by men outside the army 
altogether. ‘Gen. Bristow Has Re- 
signed’ is the headline of a newspaper 
paragraph which reports that ‘ Fourth 
Assistant Postmaster General Joseph 
L. Bristow has resigned’. ‘In 1875 
he was judge-advocate-general on 
the staff of Governor Gaston, from 
which his title of “general” was ac- 
quired.* ‘Following the local custom, 
the Communist papers give Mr. 
Chamlee the title of “General”; but 
this means merely that he was at one 
time attorney general of Hamilton 
County’ (E. Wilson, The Am. Jitters, 

Gentile. In Eng. a non-Jew, In 
Am., more commonly, a non-Mormm, 
‘Representative Gentiles of Salt Lake 
City have held a meeting and taken 
preliminary steps toward the or- 
ganization of a non-Mormon party.’ 
‘This stubborn contention hindered 
the growmg friendliness between 
Mormon and Gentile and for many 
years kept Utah from statehood’ 
(Prof. A. M. ScHLESiNGER, The Rise 
of the City, 46). 

gentleman. In the House of Com- 
mons, one M.P. refers to another not 
by name but as the honourable mm- 
ber. The Congressional equivalent is 
the gentleman, ‘Reply to Mr. Mondell 
was made by Mr. Grosvenor (Rep., 




Ohio) should like to know”, he 
said, “what light the gentleman has 
seed. The event that St. Paul figured 
in on his w’ay to Damascus was not 
a circumstance to the light the 
gentleman has seen”.’ 

When a more precise indication of 
identity is required, the Parliamen- 
tary expression is the honourable meni’- 
her Jot such-and-such a constituency. 
In the Am. House of Representatives 
reference is made to the gentleman 
from such-and-such a State, It is 
significant, by the way, that it is 
not the DISTRICT (q.v.) but the State 
from which a member comes that is 
thus mentioned. Ace. to the theory 
of the Am. Constitution, a member 
of the House of Representatives 13 
regarded as representing, like a 
Senator, the whole State and not a 
mere division of it. Thus, a member 
will be referred to as ‘the gentleman 
from Alabama’, not as ‘the gentle- 
man from the Fifth District of Ala- 
bama’. ‘The presiding officer recog- 
nized the young Dem. with a nod of 
answering humor, and responded: 
“The gentleman from N.Y.”’ (T. 
Dixon, The Clansman, 138). A novel 
of Booth Tarkmgton’s, with a Con- 
gressman as its principal character, 
is entitled The Gentleman from In- 

get has a few idiomatic uses peculiar 
to Am. Sometimes it would be repre- 
sented in Eng. by make, ‘I love to 
work, but this God-forsaken country 
gets me discouraged.’ Sometimes it 
means lay hold of, attract, as when a 
traveller says: ‘Cairo doesn’t get me, 
altogether.’ signify under- 

stand, Thus the question ‘Do you 
get me?’ is equivalent to ‘Do you 
take my meaning?’ or ‘Do you see 
my point?’ 

Except in a few locutions, such as 
ill-gotten gams and in the derivative 
forgotten, the past participle gotten is 
now archaic in Eng. It is still in 
everyday use m Am. ‘The fire was 
gotten under control in about an 
hour.’ ‘The courts m their decisions 

have not gotten so far away from the 
correct use of language’ (Prof. R. T. 
Ely, Evolution of Industrial Society, 
100). ‘An even more beautiful and 
I splendidly gotten up memorial 
volume’ "(F. J. Stimson, My U.S. 
442). ‘Correspondence has gotten 
into public print’ (Prof. H. J. Ford, 
Woodrow Wilson, 191). ‘Even a 
kitchen fire is gotten at some sacrifice 
of human life’ (H. M. Pollock and 
W. S. Morgan, Modem Cities, 12G). 

tfAm. get axe ay with = Eng. bring 
off, secure the acceptance of, succe^ 
in accomplishing, ‘A stewardess hop- 
ing to get away with any of these 
tnte excuses before a Board of In- 
quiry’' might just as well have j'umped 
overboard.’ ‘Wliat amazes me is that 
these bankers and their railroads can 
get away with one valuation for taxes 
and another upon which railroad 
earnings are figured in percentage’ 
(T. Dreiser, Tragic Am. 101). ‘The 
boys find that stealing is an easy way 
of supporting themselves. Many of 
them are getting aivay with it’ (J. 
Adda>is, The Second 20 Years at 
Hull-House, 315). ‘London wandered 
how I could meet all the correspon- 
dents m town, tell them nothing, and 
get away with it ’ (Intimate Papers of 
Col. House, 11 . 188), The Am. noun 
getaway == Eng. escape, ‘The thieves 
opened each window catch, presum- 
ably to assure a quick getaway.’ 
‘His confederates were blowing up 
the safety-box m the boot of the 
coach and making a getaway with 
the loot’ (Dr. G. 8. Lyivian, Saga of 
the Comstock Lode, 221). 

Am. get back at = Eng. turn the 
tables on, ‘If the President had not 
been vmdictively anxious to get back 
at the packers for having eluded the 
administration in the beef trust cases, 
he could have accomplished his end 
effectively.’ ‘There is in Manila no 
power of the people or the press to get 
back at the government.’ 

Am, get behind = Eng. support, 
back, ‘Good citizens should get be- 
lund candidates for aldermen who are 
clean and honest.’ 




Am. get by = Eng. get through^ pctss 
muLSter. ’Man is ever ready to go the 
easy way. He feels that there is 
plenty in the world so that he can get 
by without trying hard.’ ‘The post 
office authorities refused entry to my 
magazine, and I only got by through 
a senes of accidents’ (Upton Sin- 
clair, Money Writes, 52). ‘If he 
works three days a week he manages 
to get by’ (Bruce Crawford, in 
Culture in the South, 362). 
fAm. get on to == Eng, begin to 
realize^ begin to understand. ‘Wise 
people are getting on to the fact that 
Eastwood is no ordinary real estate 
development.’ ‘The Porto Rico 
school teachers have been accumulat- 
ing knowledge of English, and, inci- 
dentally, getting on to the manners 
and customs of folks of this and 
neighboring cities.’ 

fAm. get there = Eng. succeed^ 
exhieve one’s object. ‘Uncle Sam is a 
large body, moving slowly, but he 
has a way of “arriving”, as the 
Frenchman says, or “getting there”, 
in the Am. vernacular.’ ‘The modest 
candidate, who sits in his white toga 
in the far corner of the forum, waiting 
for the multitude to come and crown 
him aedile, is sympathetic and 
dramatic, but he rarely gets there.’ 
‘He [Ibsen] seems an author very 
little dependent on his native vehicle 
in his prose dramas; he gets there, as 
far as concerns the effect with the 
reader or spectator, as well in Eng. as m 
his mother-speech’ (W. D. Howells, 
in North Am. Rev,, July 1906). 

Am. get together means more than 
assemble. It = Eng. put (their) heads 
together, confer. ‘The strike has gone 
on long enough. The representatives 
of the unions and of the employers 
should get together and talk it over.’ 
The expression often means agree, 
unite. ‘The 3 ury was unable to get 
together, and the presidmg justice 
ordered them locked up for the 
night,’ ‘There is a strong disposition 
among the Citizens Union men and 
the Republicans to get together in 
the distncts so as to make a more 

effective fight for the city ticket.’ 
‘The present episode was a case of 
the Republicans composing their 
party differences and getting to- 
gether’ (Mark Sullivan, Our Times, 
m. 263). 

This expression may also be (1) an 
adj. or (2) a noun. (1) ‘When finally 
the giant Imer had been made fast, 
the passengers and those ashore for- 
got all about the delay in the get- 
together fun of the greetmg.’ ‘Here 
was an invitation from Mr. Julius 
Rosenwald, inviting the members of 
the Advisory Commission to a get- 
together dinner’ (Dr. Franklin H, 
Martin, The Joy of Livmg, ii. 61). 
(2) ‘It was the annual meeting and 
banquet of the alumni, and it was the 
biggest and most enthusiastic get- 
together the organization has ever 
held.’ ‘ I returned for a get-together of 
my men to discuss their itinerary’ (Dr. 
Franklin H. Martin, op. cit. ii. 397). 
The adj. geUrich^quick is applied in 
Am. to a fraudulent concern — ^such 
as might be called in Eng., as well as 
m Am., a wild-cat scheme — ^which 
exploits the desire of its victims to 
make money easily. ‘The flaming 
get-rich-quick advts. of this planta- 
tion company were of a very seductive 
character.’ ‘ There had been enormous 
increase in Am. railroad mileage. 
Get-rich-qmck promoters were largely 
responsible’ (J. K. Winkler, J. Pier- 
pont Morgan, 106). 

See also across, go, left, next. 

Gideon. The guest at an Am. hotel 
may sometimes find in his room a 
copy of the Bible, which, he learns, 
has been placed there as a gift from 
the Gideons. The following news- 
paper extract will throw light upon 
the organization that bears this 
name. ‘The religiously-minded com- 
mercial travellers, known as Gideons, 
have four prosperous camps in cities 
of N.Y. state.’ The name is pre- 
sumably derived from the story re- 
lated in Judges vii. 

gift. ‘It is time for me to see about 
my list of Christmas presents’ is a 




remark heard in many an Eng. house- 
hold at the beginning of Dec. In Am. 
the word gifts would take the place 
of presents, as, perhaps, it may soon 
do in Eng., for the advts. of Eng. 
shops at this season are introducing 
the Am, usage. *A large part of the 
64J cents was merely a Christmas 
gift to the Am. silver producers’ 
(Prof. Irving Fisher, Mastering the 
Cnsis, 62). ‘On Christmas Gifts’ is 
the title of a chapter in which ‘Mr. 
Dooley’ discourses on the subject. 

The Southern expression, ‘ Christmas 
Gift has nothing to do with presents, 
however. It is simply a greeting, 
equivalent to ^ Merry Christmas 

give. In Am. one sometimes finds 
give way appearing in the form give 
amay, ‘While attending to his loco- 
motive he was hurled to death by the 
giving away of a bridge.’ ‘Theepergne 
has given away to a hollow football 
filled with flowers.’ ‘He said that if 
the Democrats could not be united 
on a question like this they could not 
be united on anything, and he pre- 
ferred to give away to some other 

In Eng. a public man gives an inter- 
view. In Am. he gives it out ‘The 
interview given out by the Speaker 
yesterday.’ ‘The most important in- 
terview which William Howard Taft 
gave out while president’ (Diet. Am. 
Biog. XI, 195). 

Am. given name = Eng, Christian 
name, ‘Are there regions in which 
the prevailing masculine given name 
is, for instance, William?’ ‘Senator 
Magee, whose given names were 
Christopher and Lyman’ (Dr. H. 
Zink, City Bosses in U.S. 230). ‘An 
Eng. visitor in the middle eighties 
notes with grave consternation the 
difficulty Am. parents have in keeping 
children from swearing and from 
calling parents by their given names’ 
(H. i&ODES, Am, Towns and People, 
233). See also first, 

go. Am. go out Eng. come to 
grief, collapse, ‘The middle span of 
the big railroad bridge went out as 

the result of floods, and it was im- 
possible to send trains to the place 
of the wreck.’ 

The Am. compound go-getter denotes 
a person who, in Eng. idiom, has an 
eye to the main chance and is active 
in pursmt of it — a pushing fellow, 
‘The type that comes up now out of 
the depths of our cities as bandits, or 
politicians, or go-getters in business’ 
(L. Steffens, Autobiog. 249). ‘The 
young man who delivered milk for 
a rival company was a go-getter and 
soon took most of Lenard’s cus- 
tomers’ (L. ADAivnc, Laughing in the 
Jungle, 282). ‘In the course of years 
Franklin has learned that the thing 
which is impossible to the go-getter 
frequently comes round of its own 
motion to him who waits’ (P. 
Russell, Benjamin Franklin, 238). 

From this word a verb go-get has 
been coined by back-formation. ‘The 
students herded to hear breezy young 
instructors exhale the new gospel of 
go-getting’ (F. F. Bond, Mr. Miller 
of the Times, 170). 

gold. At the time when gold was 
being transferred in large amounts 
from Eng. to the U.S., one could 
read in the newspapers of bullion 
being shipped from Southampton in 
the form of what were variously 
called gold bars or gold bricks, fin 
Am. gold brick denotes something 
entirely different — not a block of 
precious metal but a counterfeit that 
is deceptively made to look like it. 
It thus comes to be used fig, to mean 
a fraud or sham, ‘Direct nomination, 
as we have seen it, is the greatest gold 
brick that was ever handed to a con- 
fiding people.’ ‘In many cases the 
diploma that the student carries 
home with him at the conclusion of 
his course is nothing less than a gold 
bnck. It has made him believe that 
he has gotten an education, when he 
actuaUy never had an opportimity 
to find out what an education is’ 
(Booker T. Washington, My Larger 
Education, 292). 

‘The first-generation Jewish immi- 




grant, who has prospered among his 
confreres m the Ghetto, may move 
to the Gold Coast in a vain attempt 
to forget his Old World heritage’ 
(M. A. Elliott and F. E. Merrill, 
Social Disorganization, 218). ‘The 
energetic and shrewd [immigrant in- 
habitants of the slums] soon seek 
greener pastures on the gold coast, 
where they hope to rear their chil- 
dren m luxurious oblivion of the 
sordid world of the slum’ (op. cit. 
597). Obviously the Gold Coast of 
these passages cannot be the British 
colony of that name in W. Africa. 
The term is employed in Am. to 
denote a district mainly occupied by 
wealthy and fashionable residents. 
It seems to have been first spec, used 
at Harvard. ‘This policy resulted in 
a rapid development of what was 
known as the “Gold Coast”, a group 
of dormitories to which the well-to- 
do students flocked.’ ‘The “Gold 
Coast”, that group of lavish dormi- 
tories which will not even rent a room 
to an applicant until the youngster’s 
social status has been carefully in- 
vestigated.’ In Chicago the term is 
applied to a district which stretches 
along the Lake Shore Drive. It is so 
well known in this sense that a 
sociological study of contrasted areas, 
published by the University of 
Chicago Press, appears under the 
title, The Gold Coast and the Slum, In 
a N.Y. paper, a column of news from 
Hollywood is headed ‘From the Gold 

gondola. ‘A car on the Lake Shore 
electric road was wrecked last night. 
It ran mto an open switch and 
crashed into a gondola loaded with 
coal.’ The kind of gondola that is 
exposed to such accidents has nothing 
Venetian about it except the name. 
It is a railway wagon, either with no 
sides at all or with very low sides, 
and is used to carry goods that are 
not liable to be injured by bad 
weather. ‘Ships must give way to 
freight-cars, bottoms to gondolas’ 
(F. J. Stkvison, My U.S. 72). ‘They 

left the next mqrning on a freight- 
train, travelling m a low roofless car 
known as a “gondola”: the gondola 
was about two-thirds full of gravel’ 
(E. Wilson, The Am. Jitters, 176). 
‘The heaped-up gondolas contihued 
their progress from Conneilsville to 
the several Carnegie furnaces’ (B. J. 
Hendrick, The Life of Andrew 
Carnegie, 457). 

good. Am. good often = Eng. well, 
without any ethical implications, 
‘The commissioner said it was a 
purely social call, and that the Presi- 
dent was looking good.’ ‘To feel good 
you must be comfortable, and to be 
comfortable you must have a light, 
thin, cool suit’ (Advt.). ‘The western 
counties have been in the habit of 
turning in large assessments because 
they want to show up good.’ ‘Is it 
not our duty “to do the backward 
nations good”, especially if they have 
oil wells? To be sure, in colloquial 
Am. the phrase “to do them good” 
acquires according to accent and in- 
tonation rather different meanings’ 
(Norman Thomas, America’s Way 
Out, 40). 

fAm. good and = Eng. thoroughly, 
quite, ‘Oh! for a reviewer who will 
occasionally sit down good and hard 
on the book written only for com- 
mercial purposes ! ’ ‘The landslide or 
earthquake, whichever it was, struck 
Massachusetts good and hard.’ ‘Just 
say to yourself, “Oh, but this will 
make my family and guests good and 

fAm. good for = Eng. valid for, 
admitting to, ‘A 50-cent combination 
ticket good for every amusement on 
the island.’ ‘Mileage books, good for 
1,000 miles’ travel.’ ‘Each received 
a ticket good for a night’s lodging’ 
(Dr. H. Zink, City Bosses in the 
U.S. 114). ‘Paid-up accident and 
sickness insurance policies good for 
the rest of their days on earth’ 
(Katherine Mayo, Soldiers What 
Next! 19). Cf. the French bon pour. 
The expression Good for you! = 
Bravo! or Well done! ‘Dunng his 




speech there were many shouts of 
‘‘Good for you’” and similar ex- 
pressions of approbation.’ 

tfThe Eng. use of make good is 
normally trans. only. In Am. it may 
be intrans. also, meaning acquit one- 
self satisfactorily j fulfil expectations^ 
achieve success. ‘With no financial 
experience whatever, he was put into 
the Treasury in true Am, style, and 
there he made good.’ ‘In the heart 
of every young person lies a certain 
fear that he may not make good, for 
he is conscious of a weakness m him- 
self that he is not sure of in anyone 
else’ (Jane Addams, The Second 20 
Years at Hull-House, 190). ‘The 
President said: “WTien I appoint a 
man to office I don't want him to 
thank me. I want him to make good”’ 
(G. W. Pepper, In the Senate, 76). 
‘What interested me on that fascinat- 
ing tnp was to see that the Bolshevik 
government was making good, and 
without compromise, too’ (L. Stee- 
pens, Autobiog. 806). 

The Am. colloquialism the goods 
denotes the real thing, the genuine 
article. Thus, an editor, arranging for 
the salary of a new reporter, is repre- 
sented as telling him that it will be 
increased at the end of a term if he 
is the goods. 

fThe expression deliver the goods 
means much the same as make good, 
but implies that the satisfaction is 
given by an actual transfer of some- 
thing (e.g. votes). It is a familiar 
word in the vocab. of Am. politics. 
‘Jones is said to have promised Lucas 
County to Johnson. If he is able to 
deliver the goods, he will add five 
votes to the Dem.-Independent com- 
bination.’ ‘The delegates to the 
various conventions are to be chosen 
on Tuesday; and, as it is good polities 
to make them deliver the goods as 
soon as possible, they will be ex- 
pected to assemble in their several 
conventions soon after their elec- 

The Eng. noun goods in such terms 
as goods depot, goods train, is repre- 
sented in Am. by freight (q.v.). 

goody, a contraction of goodwife, is 
now obs. in Eng., exc. m dial. It 
once denoted an elderly woman in 
humble life. It is still m use at 
Harvard (and possibly some other 
Am. colleges) as the name for a woman 
who looks after the rooms of students. 
‘The only service we had or thought of 
[at Harvard] was that of the “goody”, 
so-called, who came every day to make 
the beds and clean up the rooms’ 
(J. H. Choate, in his Life by E. S. 
IVL^tin, i. 62). 

gore is now obs. in Eng., exc. in 
dial., but still current in Am., in the 
sense of a wedge-shaped piece of 
land. ‘There are many and various 
size vacant gores throughout the 
widened part of Elm Street. These 
gores are of little use by themselves, 
and their only real utility is to extend 
over them the buildings adjoining 

gouge is sometimes used in Am. as 
a somewhat gruesome metaphor to 
descnbe the extraction of money 
under more or less pressure. ‘Every 
day hundreds of persons are gouged 
for the extra nickel on nding back 
to the various express stations.’ ‘We 
stood to lose a little over a million 
apiece right there, and no knowing 
w^hat the crowd that was under the 
market would gouge us for m the 
end’ (G. H. Lorimer, Old Gorgon 
Graham, 120). The milder metaphor 
squeeze would generally represent the 
same idea in Eng. 

grab. The Am. compound grab-hag 
= Eng. lucky dip, ‘To read one of 
Mr. Chesterton’s columns is like 
putting your hand into a penny grab- 
bag; there is no possible telling what 
you will draw out.’ ‘A further 
examination gives the impression 
that w^e are plunging into a sort of 
literary grab-bag, and curiosity as to 
what will come out next becomes the 
predominant element in the con- 
sciousness’ (W. M. Payne, Editorial 
Echoes, 156). ‘Roosevelt abruptly 
reached into the Dem. grab-bag of 




political promises, and demanded 
that railroad-rate making powers be 
conferred upon the Interstate Com- 
merce Commission’ (S. H, Acheson, 
Joe Bailey, 173). 

grade is a word in much more fre- 
quent use in Am. than m Eng. Some- 
times it = Eng. gradient, ‘All vehicles 
have to ascend South Street, which 
has a grade of 12 per cent.’ ‘Altera- 
tions of street grades left little houses 
perched on bluffs or sunk in dingy 
pits’ (F. E. Leupp, Walks about 
Washington, 46). 

Am. grade crossing or crossing at 
grade = Eng. level crossing, ‘This 
party of several people, filling a car 
operated by one of themselves, were 
actually engaged in racing with a rail- 
road train for a grade crossing in the 
distance.’ ‘The menace to human 
life caused by the great number of 
railroad grade crossings’ (W. G. 
McAooo, Crowded Years, 133), 

Grade is also a terra of classification 
in elementary schools, which are 
accordingly sometimes called grade 
schools, or the grades, and their 
teachers grade teachers ‘ In the 
British isles the classes are designated 
by standards, and these are supposed 
to correspond to our grades.’ ‘The 
next division [above the kinder- 
garten] is usually the primary, ex- 
tending over 3 to 6 years, followed 
by about 4 years of the grammar 
school; these two systems taken to- 
gether are often called simply the 
grades’ (Prof. A. B. Habt, Actual 
Government, 543). ‘He escaped the 
Yale for which his father planned 
and an education other than that of 
the grades’ (Prof. C. E. Meeriam, 
Chicago, 185). ‘In all its camps in 
Colorado this company has estab- 
lished kmdergartens, libraries, and, 
in remote places, grade schools for the 
children of its employees’ (W. J. 
Ghent, Our Benevolent Feudalism, 
61). ‘The theory of public school 
music has been to have a special 
^cher of music to visit all the schools 
in town, the grade teachers attempt- 

ing little between his visits exc. set- 
ting the class to sing music already 
familiar.’ A school which is too small 
to permit of such classification is 
called an ungraded school, ‘A public- 
school teacher was elected to teach 
at an ungraded country school having 
34 pupils.’ See also enlisted. 

The verb grade is naturally used to 
denote the process of classification. 
‘The number of children is great 
enough to allow complete grading.’ 
It also = Eng. mark in connexion 
with examinations. ‘They are now 
teaching or grading papers.’ ‘Lodge 
demanded too much of his students 
and graded their papers with undue 
seventy’ (H. F. Pringle, Theodore 
Roosevelt, 37). (In Eng. one may 
grade eggs and other marketable 
commodities, but not examination 
papers ) It frequently = Eng. gradu- 
ate in the sense of apportion acc, to a 
scale, ‘While the grading of an m- 
hentance tax is wise, it should not 
be based upon the value of the whole 
estate bequeathed, but upon the 
various bequests received.’ 

The intrans. use of the verb is also 
common in Am. It may mean either 
(1) rank, or (2) vary hy gradual steles, 
(1) ‘The ordinary man is not even 25 
p/c efficient m telling other people 
what he means. What shoiild we 
think of a transportation system or 
a postal service which graded no 
better than that?’ ‘Flavia’s subjec- 
tive mind graded higher than her 
objective mind’ (L. N. Wright, Limbs 
of an Old Family Tree, 81). (2) ‘The 
type graded downward into the lower 
mvertebrates.’ ‘Racially and cul^ 
turally, the population grades without 
abrupt break from the native Indians 
to the white aristocracy’ (E. B, 
Reuter, Race Mixture, 35). 

graduate. In Am, the verb graduate 
is more commonly trans. than m- 
trans. (the origmal signification of the 
word thus being preserved), and it is 
followed in the passive by from in- 
stead of at, ‘Gouverneur Morris had 
been graduated from old King’s 




College with the Class of 1768’ (Dr. 
N. M. Butler, Looking Forward, 
344). Accordingly, Am. whence he 
was graduated = Eng. where he gradu- 
ated. ^He has taught political 
economy at Oxford, whence he was 
graduated with high honors.’ 

A more important difference is that 
graduate and graduation are used in 
Am. to signify the completion of a 
course at any kind of educational 
institution, ‘A loyal Harrovian, and 
as such an ardent admirer of Palmer- 
ston, also a Harrow graduate.’ ‘An 
unusually large number of graduates 
in all departments of the Young 
Women’s Christian Association re- 
ceived their diplomas last evening.’ 
‘Wanted: Bright clean boys, for 
office work; must be public school 
graduates’ (Advt.). ‘It is these high 
school graduates of June who become 
the college students of the following 
autumn’ (Dr. A. Flexneb, Univer- 
sities, 52). ‘I was not a graduate of 
an Am. seminary’ (Dr, F. J. Kins- 
man, Salve Mater, 56). ‘ She developed 
such an interest in cooking that her 
family urged her to attend the Boston 
Cooking School. After her graduation 
from that institution in 1889, she etc.’ 
(Diet. Am. Biog. vi. 276). ‘A day 
when a class of boys of the King’s 
School of Canterbury was graduated’ 
(W. Winter, Shakespeare’s England, 
180). A trained nurse is called in Am. 
a graduate nurse, ‘I had seen how ill- 
fitted most graduate nurses were to 
take care of children’ (E. Goldman, 
Living My Life, 170). ‘Constitu- 
tionaUty was again questioned on the 
ground that the exemption of graduate 
nurses from the provisions of the law 
was unfair discrimmation’ (M, C. 
Cahill, Shorter Hours, 115). 

Accoringly the school functions 
known m Eng. as pnze-days or speech- 
days become in Am. graduation 
exercises, at which, in girls’ schools, 
those pupils who are leaving wear 
graduation or graduating costumes, or 
Itresses, or frocks, or gowns, ‘The 
annual graduation exercises of the 
sohoolship St. Mary’s were held last 

night on board the ship.’ ‘This 
spring, girls are having their gradua- 
tion frocks made so that they will be 
useful toilets for dressy occasions all 
summer.’ ‘She often used to go into 
the spare chamber and gaze at her 
graduating dress, which was spread 
out on the bed’ (M. E. Wilkins 
Freeman, By the Light of the Soul, 

graft, used in Eng, in its horti- 
cultural and surgical senses only, is 
a common term in Am. to denote 
illegitimate profit derived by holders 
of political or municipal office or by 
persons otherwise engaged in public 
affairs. It is sometimes applied to the 
corrupt taking of money in business 
also. ‘The public officials were once 
honest and efficient. To-day the 
whole State is honeycombed with 
corruption. Graft is so common as 
to excite no particular attention.’ 
‘The distribution of titles by retiring 
Bntish ministers is really a refined 
sort of social graft, and the custom 
easily lends itself to the paying off 
of political debts by a played-out and 
politically bankrupt premier.’ ‘The 
English call “privileges” the special 
interests we call grafts — franchises, 
special laws, &c.’ (L. Steffens, 
Autobiog, 704). 

Hence the verb graft, ‘The police- 
man thought of Tammany days, 
when a police badge was license to 
graft.’ ‘In some respects the com- 
pany’s management made a better 
showmg than its two big competitors. 
There had been much salary grafting, 
but less than m the Mutual or the 
Equitable.’ ‘Large business houses 
felt the loss from the petty grafting 
of stamps by office boys’ (F. J, 
Haskin, The Am. Government, 71). 

Also grafter, ‘The Cuban political 
leaders proved themselves grafters; 
hunters after political office and the 
perquisites that accompany public 
position.’ ‘The confusion and the un- 
settled conditions following the war 
presented ideal conditions for the 
speculator, the political manipulator, 




and the grafter’ (Prof. A. E. JVIartin, 
Hist. ofU.S.n. 93). 

grand stand. The grand stand from 
which spectators look on at a per- 
formance has a fig. use in Am., as 
illustrated in the followmg examples, 
where its employment suggests that 
a certain act has been performed 
for the sake of spectacular effect. 
It corresponds largely to the Eng. 
expression playing to the gallery, 
‘He had instigated the proceedings 
against the Beef Trust. He would be 
an excellent man to associate with 
the Atoinistration in the railroad 
matter, for the grand stand uses the 
Admimstration intended to make of 
it.’ ‘The fact that there is a vital 
defect in the bill introduced into the 
legislature to abate the free pass evil 
suggests the question, Is it a grand 
stand play?’ ‘There is nothing that 
pleases the typical Greek more than 
to be the center of attraction — ^to be 
in the limelight. There is no better 
way of expressing this element of 
character than to adopt the slang 
phrase, and say that the Greeks are 
a nation of “grand stand players’” 
(Dr. H, P. Fairchild, Greek Immi- 
gration to the U.S. 30). 

grandfather. The 15th Amendment 
to the Federal Constitution provides 
that ‘the right of citizens of the U.S. 
to vote shall not be denied or abndged 
by the U.S. or by any State on ac- 
count of race, color, or previous con- 
dition of servitude’. In order that 
Negroes might nevertheless be pre- 
vented from voting, some of the 
Southern States wrote into their own 
constitutions clauses imposing edu- 
cational or property qualifications for 
the franchise. Then, for the benefit 
of illiterate whites, they added a 
clause admitting to the suiffirage any 
man who lacked these quahfications, 
provided that he had voted in or 
before 1867 or was the son or grand- 
son of such person. Such a clause is 
popularly known as a grandfather 
dame, ‘By “grandfather clauses”, 
vesting the suffrage m classes whose 

grandfathers could vote, the Negro 
vote was made a nuUity’ (T. C, 
Pease, The U.S. 485). 

grange. It is possibly the archaic 
Eng. use of this term for a harn that 
suggested its adoption in Am. as the 
name for an agricultural association^ 
first established in 1867, esp. among 
the farmers of the North West. ‘The 
Farmers’ Association of Ontano, 
which m Canada* corresponds to the 
State granges of the U.S.’ ‘A modi- 
fication of the immigration laws so as 
to permit granges and other farmer 
organizations to secure labor on con- 
tracts from northern Europe.’ 

The movement which found ex- 
pression in the formation of the 
granges is known as the Granger 
m&vemenU The Granger laws were 
laws, passed by several States, which 
imposed various restrictions on the 
railroads in the attempt to prevent 
unjust disermimation and extortion 
in freight and passenger tariffs. 

greaser is a coUoq. term in Am. for 
a Mexican or Spanish-- American, ‘It 
describes the marvels of the desert, 
the Indian, the greaser, and the gold- 
hunter.’ ‘He has roughed it in 
Arizona, crossed the plains, and has 
mingled with greasers in Mexico.’ 
‘As the Am. immigrants [in Cali- 
fornia] gained in number over the 
“greasers” and the yellow men they 
determined to hold a convention for 
the establishment of a civil govern- 
ment’ (Prof. D. S. Muzzey, The Am. 
Adventure, i. 445). 

gridiron is used fig. in Am. to denote 
a football field, ‘Let him j*ourney to 
Am. League Park or to the more 
historic gridirons at Pnnceton, Cam- 
bridge, New Haven, or Philadelphia. 
There he will witness an Am. college 
football eleven in the throes of final 
preparation for the great annual 
battles.’ ‘The collapse of a flimsy 
grandstand at Des Moines is a re- 
minder that the damage to life and 
limb at a football game is not all 
on the gridiron.’ ‘A close study of 




records would be required to show 
whether the fatalities are greater in 
polo, horse-racing, or even on the grid- 
iron than m automobile road racing.' 
"At a gridiron dinner Roosevelt 
shook his linger under the nose of the 
great J. P. Morgan' (J. T. Flynx, 
God’s Gold, S8S), Here gridiron 
dinner has nothing to do with foot- 
ball. Nor does it denote, as one might | 
suppose, a dinner cooked on a grid- 
iron. There is in Washington an 
organization of newspaper corre- 
spondents, known as the Gridiron 
Club, at whose dinners it is customary 
to caricature and satirize, in their 
presence, some of the leading public 
men of the day. It is to one of these 
dinners that Mr. Flynn refers. 

grill is used fig. in Am. with the 
same meaning as the Eng. put on the 
rack in its fig. sense. Witnesses or 
prisoners who are put through a 
severe examination are said to be 
grilled, ‘The grilling of adverse 
witnesses’ (H. W. Taft, Japan and 
Am. 81). ‘The three men were grilled 
about their movements on the day 
of the Bridgewater hold-up’ (A. G. 
Hays, Let Freedom Ring, 289). ‘He 
was arrested and taken to the prose- 
cuting attorney’s office to be grilled’ 
{A. F. Raper, The Tragedy of 
Lynching, 410). 

grind. In Eng. a student who toils 
laboriously at his books is sometimes 
said to gnnd at them. In Am. he is 
himself called a gnnd, ‘It has not 
been the fashion [at college] to work 
anywhere near to one’s capacity for 
fear of being a “grind”.’ ‘A girl 
“grind” who has worked passionately 
ever since she began to win prizes 
in the grammar school.’ ‘Woodberry 
was a grind”, i.e. just a studious 
undergraduate, not a society man, 
nor caring for sports’ (F, J. Stimsox, 
My U.S. 51). ‘The student, Karl 
Marx, was a ceaseless worker. He 
was what college students today 
term a “grind”’ (E. B, Chaffee, 
The Protestant Churches and the 
Industnal Crisis, 148). 

grip. In Am. grip means not only 
a firm hold but a iratellefs hand-hag — 
piesumably because he keeps it in his 
ow'n grasp instead of entrusting it to 
a poiter. ‘The succession of Eng. 
party leaders packing their grips for 
Balmoral to see the King arouses 
intense interest.’ ‘Some of them had 
old leather grips or canvas bags, but 
many had no luggage at all’ (Ernest 
Poole, The Harbor, 244). "Doc put 
a couple of extra shirts in a grip and 
started off’ (G. H. Lorimer, Old 
Gorgon Graham, 17). 

grist. In Eng. the fig. use of grist 
is confined to the expression bring 
grist to the mill. In Am. it is much 
more widely used, as in the following 
examples. ‘Stored away in a back 
closet of the treasurer’s office, Kent 
County has a wholesale grist of lead 
pencils.’ ‘Mr. Davis gathers together 
in one section a grist of tales from 
sea captains.’ ‘The fourteen cells 
allotted to women prisoners would be 
wholly inadequate to contain the 
daily gnst if more than the smallest 
proportion remained in custody 
longer than half an hour.’ ‘The 
City’s Homicide Grist’ (Headline of 
a newspaper report of several indict- 
ments for murder). ‘A good-sized 
gnst of matters was presented in the 
House last week Wednesday under 
suspension of the rules,’ ‘The total 
grist of enrollment of medical officers 
at this rally was very satisfactory’ 
(Dr. Franklin H. jMartin, The Joy 
of Living, ii. 327). 

The compound grist-mill^ which is 
only dial, m Eng., is in general use 
in Am. It denotes a mill to which 
people of the neighbourhood bring 
small quantities of gram to be ground 
for their own use. "As a young man 
David carried on the farm, and for 30 
years ran a saw and grist-mill on a brook 
that runs through the farm.’ ‘There 
was an old grist-mill by the house, 
and he told me his brother escaped 
by hiding among the rushes in the 
flume’ (F. J. Stimson, My U.S. 179). 
‘A few vegetables, with corn meal 




ground at a hand gnst-mill seven 
miles away, were their chief food’ 
(W. E. Curtis, The True Abraham 
Lmcoln, 21). 

grocery. This word is much more 
common in Am. than in Eng., where 
grocer's shop or grocer's is in more 
general use. In Am. corner grocer and 
corner grocery are esp. familiar terms. 
‘A bill decreeing fine and imprison- 
ment for every corner grocer who 
offered for sale a sealed tin that con- 
tained adulterated food’ (Prof. N. W. 
Stephenson, Nelson W. Aldrich, 
233). ‘This class sanctioned the theft 
of wealth in Wall Street, but threw 
up its hands in righteous horror at 
its occurrence m the corner grocery 
store’ (V. F. Calverton, The Libera- 
tion of Am. Lit. 476). ‘Whether one 
is runmng a corner grocery or the 
largest manufacturing plant in the 
world, there is only one wise rule of 
conduct : fix all your abilities on that 
single job’ (B. J. Hendrick, Life of 
Andrew Carnegie, 178). It should be 
added that grocery and comer grocery 
are sometimes euphemisms for a 

groom is commonly used in Am. 
where bridegroom would be used m 
Eng. ‘The bride is a native of 
Adams. The groom is also a native 
of the town.’ ‘As the young couple 
were about to take the train for their 
wedding journey, the bnde’s brother 
presented the groom with an enve- 
lope’ (Prof. N. W. Stephenson, 
Nelson W, Aldrich, 20). ‘Upstairs the 
groom was livmg through rapturous 
throes of anticipation. For the 
hundredth time he made sure the 
ring was in the left pocket of his 
waistcoat’ (Alice Hegan Rice, 
Sandy, 251). ‘The announcements 
sent out omitted all reference to the 
official position of the groom’ (Prof. 
H. J, Ford, Woodrow Wilson, 296). 
As the custom of providing a bride- 
groom with male attendants in addi- 
tion to the best man has died out in 
Eng., the word groomsman is nowa- 
days found in Am. only. ‘He and 

Columbus Monroe were the grooms- 
men at the wedding’ (M. Gouver- 
NEUR, As I Remember, 214). ‘The 
bnde, escorted by another team con- 
taining the bridesmaids and grooms- 
men’ (J. H. Choate, in his Life by 
E. S. Martin, i. 816). 

The verb groom is used in Am. 
politics in the sense of preparing a 
person for nomination as a candidate 
for office. ‘Grover Cleveland was 
being groomed for his first Presidential 
term’ (Julian Hawthorne, Haw- 
thorne and his Circle, 264). ‘For the 
Rep. Presidential nomination in 1896, 
a candidate was once more being 
groomed in Ohio’ (Prof. T. C. Pease, 
The U.S. 535). ‘He permitted his 
Mends to groom him for the presi- 
dential race’ (Diet. Am. Biog. xiii, 
89). The word is coming into use in 
connexion with the preparation of 
persons for non-political functions 

tground. In Am. an investor is said 
to be admitted on the ground floor when 
he is entitled to the same privileges 
and opportunities as the original pro- 
moters of the company or speculation. 
‘No attempt was made to sell stock 
indiscriminately, but prominent men 
of means were approached or invited 
to go in on the ground floor.’ ‘What 
was needed was that we should get 
m on the ground floor by acquiring 
treaty rights which should for ever 
put us on an equal footing with other 
nations in that locality,’ 

guard is the technical term in Am. 
for a prison warder. ‘Hereafter, the 
danger of killing guards must not 
prevent officers from firing at escap- 
ing convicts.’ ‘A mutiny among 
1,100 prisoners at the Joliet Peniten- 
tiary was put dovm after the con- 
victs had attacked their guards’ 
(World Almanac, 1932, 101), See 

guess. The modest Am. often says 
1 guess when he really means 1 feel 
quite sure, I am certain. In this he is 
harking back to the idiom of our 




ancestors, for the expression was 
used in this sense by John Locke and 
Jane Austen. Thus, Am. I guess 
not ~ rilng. NOn indeed f and Am. 1 
guess that ’s so = Eng. Certainly f 
‘He removed the stud, remarking 
that he guessed the safest place for it 
was in his hotel safe.’ ‘When the 
Court moved, Chief Clerk Byrne was 
asked if they were going to sell the 
old clock or give it away. “I guess 
not,” was his emphatic rejoinder. 
“We are going to take it ’wnth us.”’ 
‘The true-born Yankee has always 
persisted, in spite of purists, in using 
“I guess” as equivalent to “I think”. 
To his shrewd good-humored curios- 
ity, all thinking resolves itself into a 
kind of guesswork; and one man has 
as good a right to his guess as another’ 
(Dr. S. McC. Crothers, The Par- 
doner’s W’allet, 252). 

In the common Am. phrase to keep 
one guessing = to keep one on tenter- 
hooks or %n suspense, the word means 
conjecture, as in Eng. ‘Doubt is now 
thrown upon the question whether he 
will go to Washington at all. The 
governor seems determined to keep 
us guessing.’ ‘ Murphy proceeded wi th 
caution, sometimes withdrawing from 
a position, sometimes forcing it, and 
altogether keeping his opponents 
guessing what he would do next’ 
(Dr. H. Zink, City Bosses in the 
U.S. 23). 

gum is used in some parts of Am. 
in the plur. form gu?ns to denote 
goloshes. The compound gumshoe 
seems to be employed in a fig. sense 
only. Its meaning will be evident 
from the first of the following quota- 
tions. ‘Having little personal am- 
bition, he was the “gumshoe man” 
of the administration. He was always 
around, padding softly from one 
committee room to another, and his 
job was to keep the President fully 
informed about what was going on 
in Congress’ (Prof. T. J. Grayson, 
Leaders and Periods of Am. Finance, 
199). ‘He calls it “unostentatious 
labor”. That is statesmanese for 

“gumshoe business”. Others were 
campaigning, speaking, seeking argu- 
ments to convince the independent 
voters; but the unostentatious labor 
was secretly arranging nominations, 
pledging candidates, pulling wires.’ 
‘In Eng. divorce-seekers have to 
worry about the King’s Proctor, 
whose business it is to find out 
whether the plaintiff has led and is 
leading a blameless life. He is a 
lawyer of standing, and he leaves the 
gumshoe work to his assistants, who 
get their clues in letters from busy- 
bodies.’ ‘The quiet but thorough way 
in which he organized the Republicans 
in his constituency earned him the 
nickname of “Gumshoe”’ (Diet. Am. 
Biog. ix. 406). 

The Am. compound bee-gum denotes 
‘a hollow gum tree in which wild bees 
hive or from which beehives are 
made ; hence, a beehive, onginally one 
made from such a tree’ (Webster). 
The term is esp. used in the South 
and West. ‘Along the fence on the 
opposite side under the sheltenng 
branches of the apple trees are the 
bee gums’ (J. W. Hatcher, in Cul- 
ture in the South, 384). 

See also mucilage and rubber. 

gun denotes in Eng. almost any 
kind of fire-arm exc. the pistol. In 
Am. it is esp. the pistol. ‘Capt. 
Evans, Chief Engineer Brown, and 
the first officer clambered down the 
latter to the stoke-hole, with their 
guns ready for action. At the point 
of their revolvers they separated the 

Hence the gunman who figures so 
prominently in Am. police reports. 
‘A notorious outlaw and one of the 
most expert gunmen of the West.’ 

In Am, a fowling-piece, which fires 
small shot, is distinguished from the 
bullet-firing rifle by being called a 
shotgun, ‘This section is too thickly 
settled to permit the use of the high- 
powered, small-caliber nfles which 
kill at a mile or more. But the shot- 
gun loaded with slugs or buckshot 
is a dangerous affair.’ ‘The shotgun 




was used to keep Negroes away from 
the polls at election time’ (R. R. 
IHIoton, What the Negro Thinks, 130). 
"A man sitting on the front seat 
beside the driver with a shotgun 
wrapped up in newspaper lying across 
his knee’ (Jane Addams, Second 20 
Years at Hull-House, 241). 

There is an Am verb gun, used fig. 
in the expression gun for — Eng. go 
in pursuit of, ‘ Thus the call went out, 
and instantly the Republicans were 
out gunning for Raymond’ (C. G. 
Bowers, The Tragic Era, 122). 

guy lacks in Am. the disparaging 
implications connected with it in 
Eng. It is a colourless term, meaning 
no more than fellow^ chap, ‘He is a 
hefty guy when it comes to Dem. 
conventions and the platforms and 
tergiversations thereof.’ ‘The leader 
looked like a guy in the financial 
department’ (R. Montague, in The 
End of The World, 47). ‘One of 
those real-estate guys who sell little 
houses to people’ (H. Justin Smith, 
Chicago, 174). ‘The literary guys are 
taking public matters more seriously’ 
(E. Wilson, The Am. Jitters, 114). 
Hence, a regular guy is a complimen- 
tary term, ‘An Am. ftiend con- 
gratulated me on the impression I 
produced on a lady interviewer, ob- 
serving, “She says you’re a regular 
guy”. This puzzled me a little at the 
tune. “Her description is no doubt 
correct,” I said, “but I confess it 
would never have struck me as 
specially complimentary.” But it ap- 
pears that it is one of the most grace- 
ful of compliments, in the original 
Am.’ (G. K. Chesterton, What I 
Saw in Am. 50), 

The verb guy, however, seems to 
have closer kinship to the Eng. noun, 
for it means make fun of, ‘He can’t 
help wondering if they really meant 
it or if they were guying him.’ ‘ When 
a man buys a “gold brick” at a bar- 
gain and the tmng turns out to be 
brass, he is guyed from Maine to 
Oregon.’ ‘There is no particular 
satisfaction in guying Mrs. Atherton’s 

books.’ The use of the word in this 
sense in Eng. theatrical slang (as 
recorded in the 0,E,D,) is probably 
derived from Am. 


haberdashery denotes in Eng, 
various small articles pertaining to 
dress, such as thread, tape, nbbons, 
and so on. In Am. these things are 
called NOTIONS (q.v.), and haber^ 
dashery denotes articles for men’s 
wear — such as hats, collars, cuffs, and 
underwear — ^that in Eng. would form 
part of the stock of a men’s outfitter. 

hack. In the days of Steele and 
Fieldmg hack might be used to denote 
not only a hired horse but a hired 
vehicle. The latter use is now con- 
fined to Am. 

half. Am. a half == Eng. half a or 
half an, ‘There will be a half dozen 
interesting contests on the Tam- 
many side.’ ‘Broadway traffic was 
blocked for a half hour.’ ‘A half- 
dozen brands of perfumery ’ (Sen. A. J. 
Beveridge, The Russian Advance, 
51). ‘He had enjoyed a half hour’s 
conversation with Samuel R. Gar- 
dmer’ (M. A. de W. Howe, James 
Ford Rhodes, 91). 

See also staff. 

hall is a common term in Am. to 
denote the chamber in which a legis- 
lative body meets. ‘The legislative 
halls of Congress were silent today in 
tribute to Calvin Coolidge.’ ‘It does 
not protect acts or words, otherwise 
illeg^, though done or spoken by a 
member of the legislature within the 
legislative halls, if not in relation to 
the business before it’ (Prof. C. K. 
Burdick, Law of the Am, Constitu- 
tion, 176). ‘These party facts are 
reflected m the halls of Congress’ 
(Prof, H. L. McBain, The Living 
Constitution, 124). ‘A great battle 
was fought over the admission of 
representatives from the new coun- 
ties into the legislative halls of the 




State’ (Prof. C. S. Sydnor, Slavery 
in ^Mississippi, 248). 

In Am. hall is frequently com- 
pounded with other w^ords to denote 
a place devoted to a particular kind 
of entertainment; e.g. ^ dance hall — 
Eng. dancing saloon and pool hall = 
Eng. pool-room, ^The strains of a 
saloon band rose to vex the girl’s 
poetic soul WTith repugnant remem- 
brances of the dance hall’ (H. Gar- 
IA.ND, The Tyranny of the Dark, 7). 
‘In all of these new towns were those 
sinks of iniqmty, the dance halls’ 
(J. T. Flynn, God’s Gold, 119). ‘A 
reform element wanted the pool halls 
removed from Main Street’ (F. L. 
Bird and F. M. Ryan, The Recall of 
Public Officers, 125). ‘Pool halls 
seem to furnish most of the recreation 
for young men’ (C. S. Johnson, The 
Negro in Am. Civilization, 307). 

The Am, mtisic hall is very different 
from the Eng., as the following quota- 
tion shows. ‘In 1892 he bmlt a 
beautiful auditorium on 57th Street, 
calling it the “New York Music Hall”. 
It was found impossible to book dis- 
tingmshed foreign artists for a place 
with such a title, “music hall” m 
Eng. and on the Continent repre- 
senting about the same thing as 
“variety house” in this country. 
Without Carnegie’s knowledge and 
when he was absent m Scotland, the 
structure was transformed into “ Car- 
negie Hall”, under which denomina- 
tion the greatest composers and per- 
formers for forty years have gladly 
made the place the musical centre of 
the metropolis’ (B. J. Hendrick, 
life of Andrew Carnegie, 550). 

The entrance hall on the ground 
floor of an Am. house is usually called 
a hallway, and the same name is 
sometimes given to corridors or pas- 
sages on other floors. ‘The stuffy 
rooms, dark hallways and inadequate 
sanitation arrangements of the older 
communities.’ ‘The eight-day clock 
in the hallway’ (T. Boyd, Mad 
Anthony Wayne, 8). ‘The umbrellas 
and other portable articles he had 
noticed in the hallway’ (Dr. S. C. 

McC. Crothers, The Pardoner’s 
Wallet, 224). ‘In the Rivington St. 
tenement it was the rule that each 
occupant had to clean and scrub the 
stairs and hallway of the floor he 
lived on’ (Upton Sinclair Presents 
William Fox, 25). 

The term hall bedroom is applied to 
a bedroom over the entrance hall, on 
wrhatever floor. In a boarding-house, 
the hall bedrooms, being the smallest 
and least desirable rooms, are usually 
the cheapest also. ‘The lonely who 
sit in the cheerless solitude of hall 
bedrooms.’ ‘When I was a young 
man I spent many of my evenings 
sittmg in a hall bedroom — ^a highly 
moral way of life that was wholly due 
to a shortage of money.’ ‘Sleeping 
in a hall bedroom with the rent 
overdue’ (U. Sinclair, Money Writes, 
17). ‘These young men were the hall- 
bedroom youths of that period. They 
lived on little and worked hard’ 
(B. L. IMasters, The Tale of Chicago, 

See also city and eat. 

halt. In the 0,E,D, the latest Eng. 
example of halt as a trans. verb, exc. 
as a military term, is dated 1827. 
This usage is still common in Am. 
‘The special train was halted several 
miles outside the city.’ ‘Rumania 
was running amuck and had to be 
sharply halted by an ultimatum from 
the Allies’ (A. Nevins, Henry White, 
457). ‘The outbreak was delayed, not 
halted’ (H. F. Pringle, Theodore 
Roosevelt, 397). ‘The experiment 
was roughly halted by the outbreak 
of the World War’ (Willis J. Abbot, 
Watching the World Go By, 45). 

hammer. The verb hammer is used 
flg. in Am. in the sense of criticize 
severely, ‘The senator celebrates his 
acquittal in the land fraud case by 
hammering the federal administra- 
tion for its prosecution of land and 
timber thieves.’ ‘As his hammering 
of the bosses took on increased speed, 
the enthusiasm of the audience grew 
in volume’ (J, Kerney, Political 
Education of Woodrow Wilson, 71). 




hand. Am. on hand = Eng. at hand^ 
present, in attendance, ‘Men were on 
hand at every booth, ready to give 
instructions to voters.’ ‘Col. Roe- 
blmg was close on hand at the time 
when Gen. Sickels lost lus leg’ (H. 
Schuyler, The Roeblings, 193). 
‘Morgan mmgled freely with his guests 
and made them comfortable, but was 
always on hand when the bill was to 
be paid’ ( J. K. Winkler, J. Pierpont 
Morgan, 44), 

In Am. handbook is used in connexion 
with racing where hook would be used 
in Eng. Hence handbook man == Eng. 
bookmaker, ‘He had never known of 
a case where an officer arrested a 
handbook man, saw him take money, 
and then failed to brmg the man who 
paid the money as a witness,’ ‘Mys- 
tenous wholesale wire cutting, ex- 
plainable only on the grounds that 
the handbooking possibihties on the 
Derby are the bone of contention, 
constitutes an important develop- 
ment of the warfare centering about 
Washington Park race track.’ Acc. 
to Webster, the bookmaker’s betting 
book IS called a handbook because it 
is carried in the hand or on the person 
in order to evade the laws against 

In Am. hand-me-dotm is a colloq. 
term for ready-made, corresponding to 
the Eng, reach-me-down, ‘He wears 
a cheap smt of “hand-me-down” 
clothing.’ ‘ A colored workman ceased 
to be grateful for a hand-me-down 
suit of broadcloth’ (Mark Sullivan, 
Our Times, ui. 370). 
fThe compound hand-pick is in 
common use in Am., in a sense that 
will be sufficiently clear from the 
following examples. ‘No advocate 
[m Eng.] would thmk of hand-picking 
a jury, so as to eliminate all those 
who might be unfavorable to his 
client’s case. In Am., on the con- 
trary, a trial lawyer’s reputation de- 
pends to a certain extent upon his 
ability to pick a favorable jury.* 
‘Napoleon then arranged for a hand- 
picked Assembly of Notables [m 
Mexico], which changed the govern- 

ment into an hereditary monarchy’ 
(L. M. Hacker and B. B. Kendrick 
The U.S. since 1865, 44). ‘He had 
grown into the absolute dictator, and 
he hand-picked candidates for county 
and legislative offices’ (J. Kerney, 
Political Education of Woodrow 
Wilson, 88). 

In Am. the compound handscrub is 
an alternative to nailbrush. 

fThe Am. compound handspring 
denotes a somersault in which the 
body is supported by the hands while 
the feet are in the air. Hence Am. 
turn handsprings = Eng. turn cart- 
wheels, ‘ I verily believe if some portly 
well-dressed and venerable gentleman 
should take it into his head to traverse 
the entire length of Regent Street m 
a senes of handsprings, not a ripple of 
interest or mirth would be stirred.’ 
‘A bright little mulatto boy who 
turned handsprings to attract their 
attention’ (Upton Sinclair, Manas- 
sas, 108). 

handle. In Eng. to deal with. In 
Am. also to deal in, ‘Jewelry stores 
and other houses handling goods 
classed as luxuries.’ ‘A general mer- 
chandise mail order concern, handling 
clothing, groceries, carriages and 
machinery’ (Dr. H. Zink, City Bosses 
in U.S. 276). ‘Many bookstores re- 
fused to handle the book at all’ 
(V. F. Calverton, The Liberation of 
Am. Literature, 289). Cf. carry. 

In the sense of deal with the word is 
used much more freely in Am. than 
in Eng. ‘Sixty years ago Eng. laid 
the foundations of a scientffic plan 
for handlmg local and private bills.’ 
‘We shall have additional facihties 
for handling our growing interests.’ 
‘The University of Chicago handles 
almost 80,000 students’ (Dr. A. 
Flexner, Universities, 190). ‘Ele- 
vated railroads could handle passen- 
gers much more quickly’ (Prof. A. B. 
Hart, Actual Government, 206). An 
Eng. writer might speak of handling 
luggage, but scarcely of handlmg 

hang. In Am. a jury which fails 




to agree on a verdict is said to be 
hung, ‘Darrow was tried twice for 
jury-bnbing. In one case the jury 
was hung; m the other Darrow was 
aeqmtted’ (L. ADAjvnc, Dynamite, 

For hanger f see the following quota- 
tion. * Hangers are printed or litho- 
graphed cards of various shapes and 
sizes, to be hung up in a store’ 
(E. E. Calkins and R. Holden, Art 
of Modem Advertising, 352). 

fThe Am. derivative hangceoer = 
Eng. survival, ‘Modem realism was 
the product of the fat years from the 
mid-19th centi^ up to the war. In 
these leaner times this realism is a 
cultural hangover, a moral super- 
fluity.’ ‘He was fond of readmg 
homilies to his subordinates, probably 
a hangover from the days when he 
taught a young ladies’ Bible class’ 
(Diet. Am. Biog. vii. 176). ‘That 
easily inspired hatred of Germany 
remained as a hangover in Am. long 
after it had been thrown off by the 
British’ (L. Denny, Am. Conquers 
Britain, 9). ‘One candidate was 
branded as a hangover from the cor- 
mpt aldermanic machine’ (P. Lewin- 
SON, Race, Class and Party, 23). See 


The term hangout denotes a place 
of resort^ esp. in a derogatory sense. 
‘Whose saloon was to remain a 
picturesque hang-out for radicals and 
bohemians for the next three decades’ 
(L. Symes and T. Clement, Rebel 
Am. 138). ‘We once found one 
hundred hangouts of c riminals . 
These resorts were not molested’ 
(Prof. C. E- Merriam, Chicago, 36). 

tfhappening is condemned by 
Mr. H. W. Fowler, in his Did, of 
Modern Eng, Usage, as an ‘unworthy 
hterary or joumalistic affectation’ 
unknown in Eng. until about 1905. 
It was certainly in common use m 
Am. before that. ‘Other happenings 
might temporarily switch off the 
gossip’ (E. C. Waltz, Pa Gladden, 
123 ; published 1903). * Every country 
paper wants a wide-awake corre- 


spondent to report the local happen- 
ings in each village’ (E. L. Shuman, 
Practical Journalism, 31; published 
1903). Its acceptance by the leading 
Am. authorities on the use of lan- 
guage is illustrated by the following 
extract from an article by Prof. 
Brander Matthews in the North Am, 
Bev, of Nov. 1905: ‘The interpreta- 
tive comment with which the novelist 
has encompassed people and happen- 
ings commonplace enough.’ 

hard. In Am. hard is used as an 
epithet for spirituous liquor, to dis- 
tinguish it not only from non- 
alcoholic beverages but from beer and 
light wmes. ‘The restoration of beer, 
or of beer and wine, will leave un- 
touched the domain of the professional 
bootlegger, who will concentrate on 
hard hquor.’ ‘Hamilton urged that 
Congress should levy an excise tax 
on spirituous liquors. . . . He evidently 
regarded hard liquor as a luxury’ 
(Prof. T. J. Grayson, Leaders and 
Periods of Am. Finance, 69). See soft. 

In Eng. one may speak of hard cash 
but not of hard money. The latter 
term is used in Am. of coin, to dis- 
tinguish it from paper money. ‘Hard 
money disappeared from the great 
states of the Atlantic Seaboard at a 
most critical moment’ (Prof. T. J. 
Grayson, Leaders and Periods of 
Am. Finance, 222). ‘The total stock 
of money in the U.S. at this time was 
5,400 imllion dollars. The Patman 
bill [authorizing the issue of more 
U.S. bonds] would have increased 
this amount by 45 per cent. Natur- 
ally such a proposal was viewed with 
alarm by the supporters of hard 
money’ (W. Ldppmann, The U.S. in 
World Affairs m 1982, 127). 

In Eng. a sentence imposed on some 
enmin^s is of so many years’ im- 
prisonment with hard labour, A 
similar Am. sentence is at hard labor, 
‘He went to tnal, was convicted, and 
sentenced to 18 years at hard labor.’ 
‘When husband and wife both love 
the same person, and that person is 
the wife, it’s usually a life sentence 




at hard labor for the husband’ 
(G. H. Louimee, Old Gorgon Graham, 

A sauce that is not liquid is called 
in Am. a hard sauce* 
fin Eng. hard-boiled is an epithet 
for eggs only. In Am. it is used fig. 
as an eqmvalent of hard-headed^ 
sophisticated* ‘The hard-boiled in- 
dividualists who have made their 
fortunes in busmess.’ ‘He must not 
have long hair or dieamy eyes. He 
must be hard-boiled and practical, 
dealing with grim, stark realities of 
daily life’ (Prof. C. E. Meeeiam, 
Chicago, 265). ‘Our Am. correspon- 
dents m Pans, the hardest-boiled, 
least sentimental of observers’ (L. 
Steffens, Autobiog. 830). ‘Letters 
from a Hard-Boiled Teacher to his 
Half-Baked Son’ is the title of an 
Am, book. The term hard-shelled has 
the same meanmg. 

haul. In Eng. the verb haul carries 
with it a suggestion of effort and strug- 
gle. It lacks any such implication m 
Am., where it is commonly used in con- 
nexion with ordinary transport. ‘In 
some parts of this State it is impos- 
sible to move thrashing machines or 
haul grain.’ ‘A second of the four 
engmes was at once set hauling trains 
through the txmnel.’ ‘Many of the 
smaller railroads are extensively en- 
gaged in haulmg timber and other 
forest products’ (Dr. J. H. Feede- 
BicK, The Development of Am. Com- 
merce, 348). ‘The wagons were haul- 
ing groceries from the neighboring 
steamboat landing’ (Prof. C. S. 
Sytdnoe, Slavery in Mississippi, 35). 
A similar remark applies to the 
noun haul* ‘Wherever trolley lines 
extend they ought to supersede long 
wagon hauls’ (Prof. A. B. Haet, 
Actual Government, 631). ‘The com- 
merce act of 1887 prohibits a greater 
charge for a short haul than for a 
long haul’ (Dr. J. M. Beck, May it 
Please the Court, 371). 

In Eng., however, the meaning of 
the derivatives haulage and haulier 
accords with the Am. sense of haul. 

have. For do have, see do. 

The Am. invitation Have a seat! ss 
Eng. Take a seat! 

The compound noun has-been, a 
dial, word in Eng., is in general use 
in Am. It denotes a person whose 
days of influence or authority are 
now over; who, as we sometimes say, 
is on the shelf. ‘ Such occasions draw 
out a great number of “has beens” 
in the public life of the state. Men 
who have once held public office have 
a decided fancy for appearing at such 
times.’ ‘For the President to elevate 
over them a political novice they con- 
sider as notice to the country that 
either he has no confidence in their 
integrity or regards them as ‘‘has 
beens” politicaUy.’ ‘The majority of 
the seats were occupied by homeless 
men, by “has beens”’ (O. Kildaee, 
My Maime Rose, 214). 

hawk. The name night-hccwk is 
applied in Am. to a bird that is not 
a hawk in the Eng. sense. Its scientific 
name is chordiles virginianus, 

hay. In Am. the compound hayseed 
has been coined as a somewhat dis- 
paraging term for a countryman. It 
takes the place of the Eng. yokel* 
‘The men in the audience did not look 
like hayseeds, but businesslike.’ ‘He 
stood for the interests of Boston, he 
asserted, and asked the voters to elect 
strong men to the local Legislature, 
m order that those interests should 
not be over-ridden by what he termed 
“hayseed legislators”.’ The explana- 
tion commonly given of the term is 
that the countryman is pictured as 
a man who has not yet shaken the 
hayseed out of his hair. 

In Eng. both hayrick and haystack 
are in use. In Am. haystack only is 

haze. One of the meanings given 
for the verb haze in the 0*E,D. is 
harass with overwork, described as $ 
nautical term. It is perhaps from 
this sense that has been derived its 
use in Am. schools and colleges, as 
I illustrated in the following examples. 




‘Ohio, in 1893, passed a law agamst 
“what is commonly called hazing”. 
It IS now* replaced by a new’ act 
covering educational institutions of 
all kinds and definmg Hvhat is meant 
by hazing. It is described as “any 
act that mjures, frightens, degrades, 
or disgraces, or tends to injure, 
frighten, degrade, or disgrace any 
fellow-student or person attending 
such institution”.’ ‘Hazing is stifl 
going on in full blast at the Naval 
Academy, It has driven several 
fourth class men to the hospital. It 
consists chiefly in the use of insulting 
and profane language to the under- 
classmen and compelling them by 
* threats to. undergo continuous physi- 
cal exercises until exhausted.’ ‘The 
boys hazed him; he broke down and 
came home a wreck’ (E. S. 

Life of J. H. Choate, i, 402). ‘ I passed 
into the rough and tumble of school 
life with a distinct shudder. There 
was no direct hazmg, but there was 
a good deal of rather cruel horse-play’ 
(L. Lewisohn, Up Stream, 65). 

head. In Am. head for is used not 
only intrans., as in Eng., but trans. 
also. Thus Am. head^ for = Eng. 
heading for, destined for. ‘It is be- 
lieved that the three outlaws are 
headed for Lee’s Creek.’ ‘It was 
headed for disaster and the slightest 
disturbance would bring it to a cer- 
tain fall’ (R, I. Warshow, Story of 
Wall Street, 222). ‘Everett Colby 
was headed straight for this fate 
when a man got hold of him’ (L. 
Steffens, Autobiog. 499). ‘A young 
naan who was tivo years above him 
in the College and" was headed for 
the Unitarian ministry’ (H. James, 
Charles W. Eliot, i. 42). ‘The news- 
papers reported late in 1931 that the 
new Coalition Government was head- 
ed in the direction of protective 
tariffs’ (W. Lippmann, The U.S. in 
World Affairs in 1932, 80). 

The Am. compound headliner denotes 
the person whose name is the most 
prominent attraction on a play-bill, 
&c. ‘JVliss Toby Claude, who played 

the role opposite Jefferson de Angeles 
m “Fantana” all season wall be the 
headliner this week.’ ‘The Forty club 
will give its annual May party 
Thursday, May 10, at the Audi- 
tonum hotel. The “headliners” on 
the program will be James Whit- 
comb Riley and George Ade.’ ‘We 
would take ourselves to the Senate 
gallery to listen for hours to the 
speeches of those headliners among 
the Senators who dramatized the 
League of Nations fight’ (Aeice 
Roosevelt Longworth, Crowded 
Hours, 278). 

hear. In Am. hear to is a possible 
alternative to hear of, in the sense 
of entertain the idea of. ‘When I tried 
at last to turn our talk to herself and 
our affairs at home, at first she would 
not hear to it’ (E. Poole, The 
Harbor, 202). 

Hebrew is frequently used in Am. 
where Jew or Jewish would be used 
in Eng. ‘The races of the Roman 
Catholic religion have much larger 
numbers in the parochial schools 
than do the races with the Protestant 
religion or especially the Hebrews’ 
(J. W. Jenks and W. J. Lauck, The 
Immigrant Problem, 289). 

hell. The Am. colloquialism hell- 
bent = Eng. hell for leather, hammer 
and tongs. ‘Political feeling is too 
subdued to make it possible for the 
State to go hell-bent for anybody.’ 

help is used euphemistically in Am. 
as a synon37m for sercant(s) or em- 
ployee's). ‘Some guests will fail to 
leave anything for the help.’ ‘The 
large department stores are laying off 
help and curtailmg salaries.’ ‘Mill 
help of late years have had no trouble 
in getting jobs.’ ‘In our little Kansas 
village, to ‘‘keep help”, unless one 
was an invalid or lived on a big farm, 
was a mark of shiftlessness’ (A. 
SuRBREDGE, Confessions of a Club 
Woman, 4). ‘An alien engaged in the 
business of conducting a grocery 
store, meat market, or fruit stand, 
when the help used is alien, must 




keep a large card in full view showing 
his nationality and that of his help’ 
(E. G. Meabs, Resident Orientals on 
the Am. Pacific Coast, 288). 

As long ago as 1838 James Fenimore 
Cooper protested against this use of 
the word, as not always conveying 
the meaning intended. A man, he 
pointed out, does not usually hire his 
cook to help him cook his dinner, but 
to cook it herself. 

See HIRE. 

hemlock is in Eng. a poisonous um- 
belliferous plant whose botanical 
name is Comum maculatum. In Am. 
the name is also given to a fir or 
spruce, the Tsuga Canadensis, owing ! 
to the resemblance of its branches to 
the leaves of the hemlock plant. ‘At 
last we come to that hidden glade, 
under the beeches, under the hem- 
locks.’ ‘He liked fishing-camps in 
Ontario, but never made hhnself 
believe that he preferred hemlock 
laughs to a mattress’ (Sinclair 
Lewus, Dodsworth, 19). ‘Manu- 
facturers of hemlock lumber in 
Michigan’ (T. C. Blaisdell, Federal 
Trade Commission, 151). 

fhenchman. In Eng. a henchman 
is usually ‘the stalwart and trusty 
nghthand man of the hero or viUain 
in romantic narrative’ (Prof. E. 
Weekley, in Words Ancient and 
Modern). In Am. he is commonly a 
thick-and-thin follower and assistant 
of a political leader. ‘Roosevelt was 
bitter because he knew that Platt’s 
henchmen hoped to legislate him out 
of ofiice’ (H. F. Pringle, Theodore 
Roosevelt, 114). ‘Sanborn was a 
henchman of B. F. Butler, one of 
the most influential members of the 
Rep. party in Congress’ (Prof. A. E. 
Martin, Hist of U.S. ii. 135). ‘Cal- 
houn’s motion not to receive anti- 
slavery petitions was echoed by his 
henchmen’ (Prof. G. H. Barnes, 
The Antislavery Impulse, 110). 

Hessian* In the Am. War of Inde- 
pendence Hessian troops were hired 
to fight on the British side. Hence 

the word Hessian is used in Am. to 
this day as a synonym for mercenary. 
Thus, a newspaper, in discussing a 
charge that the credentials of certain 
delegates to a political convention 
were bought, says that ‘the extent 
to which the packing of state politics 
upon a Hessian basis has gone 
deserves to be exposed’. ‘The ques- 
tion whether he was or was not a 
Hessian in that campaign is a small 
matter m the eye of the country at 
large; but the question whether the 
Rep. leaders were corrupting the 
Opposition is large and important.’ 

hide. Am. hide and go seek ~ Eng, 
hide and seek, ‘These counsels of 
cowardice tend to make our public 
life a game of hide and go seek rather 
than the manly fronting of important 
questions.’ ‘One of the pleasantest 
and most scary of games was “Hide 
and Go Seek” with Father’ (Alice 
Roosevelt Longworth, Crowded 
Hours, 7), See also peek. 

high has several compounds which 
are pecuhar to, or which onginated 
in, Am. 

A highball is a whisky and soda 
served with broken ice in a tall glass. 
‘Many of the Senators do not know 
what a “highball” is, and only a few 
Southern members have a clear notion 
of a mint julep.’ ‘A large circle of 
young men, seated round two tables 
pushed together and covered with 
“high balls”, and bottles of car- 
bonated water, and silver bowls of 
cracked ice’ (D. G. Phillips, Golden 
Fleece, 58). 

The members of a secret society 
among Chinese living in Am. are 
called Highbinders, ‘The Highbinders 
tracked Sam Jim to this city and 
murdered him.’ 

tfThe term highbrow, that dis- 
respectful synonym of intellectual, 
both as noun and as adj., originated 
in Am. ‘Where highbrows and low- 
brows rub shoulders without disdain’ 
(W. D, Orcutt, The Kingdom of 
Books, 88). ‘Endowed institutions 
think they must be useful in order that 




they may not be reproached for being 
aristocratic or “highbrow”’ (Dr, A. 
Flexner, Universities, 130). 

In Eng. a person who puts on airs 
is pictured as ndmg a high horse. In 
Am. he is thought of as wearing a 
high hat, ‘He gets high-hat and 
speaks with scorn of the Mexicans as 
inherently social inferiors’ (E. Wil- 
son, The Am. Jitters, 205). ‘Dever’s 
dignity was mistaken by some for 
“high-hatting”’ (Prof. C. E. AIer- 
RiAM, Chicago, 292). 

The coUoqmalism high rolling de- 
notes extravagant sper^ing, cutting a 
dash, ‘High rolling with the spoils of 
their first venture at house looting 
led to the undoing yesterday of a pair 
of amateur craclSmen.’ 

In Am. the compound high-toned 
does not mean high-principled, as m 
Eng., but superior, stylish, ‘The 
small farmer, not too high-toned to 
work his own farm, will succeed where 
the gentleman farmer who hires labor 
cannot.’ ‘The plasterers take the 
groimd that they could remodel a 
broken hand, or face, or arm, as well 
as any “high-toned” sculptor.’ 

In recent years high has come to 
be used in Am. as a noun, in the sense 
of high level or high figure, ‘He sets 
a new high in the use of exclamation 
points.’ ‘An analysis of annual 
hbrary expenditures per enrolled 
student for 34 major institutions 
shows in dollars a high of 87, a low of 
6, and an average of 22’ (Prof. H. C. 
Nixon, in Culture in the South, 236). 
‘American Can, at the closing on 
Oct. 4th, was nearly 20 points Mow 
its high for the year’ (F. L. Allen, 
Only Yesterday, 320). Cf. low. 

hill. For a spec. Am. use of the hill, 
see quotations. ‘In the ordinary 
conversation of Washington, one 
rarely hears Congress mentioned by 
name. In speaking of the lawmakers 
collectively, the familiar phrase is 
“the gentlemen on the hill”, Wash- 
ington has several hills, but “the” 
hill is by universal consent the one 
on which the Capitol stands’ (F. E. 

Leupp, Walks about Washington, 
54). ‘Father’s message in response to 
the House resolution was not in any 
way satisfactory to the irate gentle- 
men on the hill’ (Alice Roosevelt 
Longwobth, Crowded Hours, 162). 

hire. ‘Farmer Sprague had been 
discussing strikes for an hour with his 
hired men.’ ‘Occasionally, we find 
farmers with two or more hired men’ 
(Prof. R. T. Ely, Evolution of In- 
dustrial Society, 379). ‘The hired 
man came in with the milk’ (Julia B. 
Forakeb, I W’dild Dive it Agam, 51). 
‘What with the coal and the stoves 
and the hired woman, the monthly 
expenses had already doubled’ (E. 
Wharton, Hudson River Bracketed, 
518). ‘The chapters tell how the 
husband finds the rent and the wife 
the hired girls’ (G. H. Lorimeb, Old 
Gorgon Graham, 190). ‘ “ I hope she 
didn’t go out to work as hired girl,” 
said Sylvia. “It would have been 
awful for a grand-daughter of 
Abraham White’s to do that’” 
(M. E. Wilkins Freeman, Shoulders 
of Atlas, 15). 

This peculiarly Am. use of hired man, 
hired woman, and hired girl is ex- 
plained by Albert Matthews in an 
article in the Transactions of the 
Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 
summarized in the Nation of Aug. 16, 
1900. It appears that in colonial 
times there were three distinct classes 
of servants m Am. — slaves, indented 
servants, and hired servants. In 
addition there were hired freemen; 
i.e. ordinary free citizens, not belong- 
ing to the technical category of ser- 
vants, who had temporarily ‘hired 
themselves out’. This last dass was 
originally meant when hired men 
were spoken of. With the growth of 
democratic feeling, the dislike felt for 
the word servant was shown with 
increasmg force, and hired man and 
hired woman came to be used as 
euphemistic names for free servants. 
See also help. 

In Am., generally speaking, one 
hires, rather than engages, a servant. 




hither. Am. hither and yon = Eng. 
hither and thither, to and fro, ‘He was 
sent hither and yon from one de- 
partment of the great works to an- 
other.’ ‘With tremendous energy, 
McClure hastened hither and yon’ 
(C. C. Regier, The Era of the Muck- 
rakers, 56). ‘He is pulled hither and 
yon, to make speeches and to attend 
functions’ (Dr. A. Flexner, Uni- 
versities, 183). See back. 

hoe. Acc. to the Century Diet, the 
Am. hoe-cake owes its name to the 
fact that it was originally baked on 
the broad, thin blade of a cotton-field 
hoe. It is made of Indian meal, 
water, and salt, and is really a kind of 
coarse bread. ‘Muffins and rolls were 
enlarged into a multitude of forms of 
hot bread of which the hoe-cake of 
In^an corn meal, cooked in the ashes 
of the hearth, was the parent and the 
Indian hommy cake the grandparent.’ 
‘The savory odor of the hoe-cakes 
floated over his shoulder’ (Alice 
Hegan Rice, Sandy, 201). ‘Some- 
times this part of the programme was 
vaned by his mixing a hoe-cake on 
a board, and setting it up “to do” 
in front of the fire’ (E. Robins, The 
Magnetic North, 128). 

See also row. 

hog is rarely used in Eng. nowadays 
except fig., e.g. road hog. In Am., on 
the other hand, it is commonly used 
in its literal sense, and virtually takes 
the place of the Eng. pig (q.v.). It is 
significant that Whitakefs Aim,, in 
its agricultural section, publishes 
statistics of pigs, but the World Aim, 
of hogs. Accordingly hog-raisers^ 
associations correspond in Am. to the 
Eng. pig-breeders^ associations, and 
Am. hogpen == Eng. pigsty, ‘We 
know good land, good horses, good 
machinery, good gram and hogs and 
fruit and cotton’ writes Walter H. 
Page in one of the letters printed in 
his biography. ‘The hog industry is 
sharing with the beef-cattle industry 
m the readjustment following the 
signing of the armistice’ (Am. Year- 
book ibr 1919, 487). ‘ Feeding garbage 

to swine has been largely practiced, 
and a few cities have established hog 
farms for this purpose’ (Dr. C. C. 
Maxey, Outline of Mumcipal Govern- 
ment, 226). ‘The most notable ex- 
ception to the usual monotony was 
that which came late m the fall, at 
the hog-kiUmg’ (Dr. W. W. Folwell, 
Autobiog. 31). See also sand. 

hold. In Am. the verb hold is often 
a synonym for keep back, detain, 
remand; sometimes almost for arrest, 
prosecute, ‘In the future trains wili 
not be held for the purpose of takmg 
on baggage after the regular time 
scheduled for stops has expired.’ 
‘The two men were held in |l,500 
bail each for trial in the Court of 
General Sessions.’ ‘In Buffalo, a girl 
witness was held 36 days in a gang 
case, then released without being used 
to testify.’ ‘If the insurance officials 
cannot be held for larceny, they 
might evidently be held for forgery 
or perjury.’ ‘Farmers frequently 
prefer to hold their products for 
better prices’ (Prof. E. S. Sparks, 
Agricultural Credit in U.S. 438). A 
decision of the Nobel Prize com- 
mittee to make no award is announced 
in an Am. newspaper imder the head- 
Ime ‘Nobel Committee Holds Peace 

A full account of the Am. holding 
company may be found in the Encycl, 
Soc. Sci, (vii. 403), which says: ‘A 
holding company may be dejfined in 
the broadest sense as any company 
having share capital which owns 
securities of one or more other com- 
panies. In a more restricted but more 
usual sense the definition is made to 
turn not on ownership in but on con- 
trol over another company. A holding 
company may thus be defined in 
terms of its distinguishing charac- 
teristic as any company with share 
capital which is in a position to con- 
trol or materially to influence the 
management of one or more other 
companies by virtue, in part at least, 
of its ownership of secunties of the 
latter.’ ‘The plan to insure stability 




in control took form late in 1901 
in the organization of the Northern 
Securities Company, a holding com- 
pany to act virtually as trustee of 
the Great Northern, Northern Pacific, 
Burlington, and other properties as- 
sociated with Hill’s name’ (Diet. Am. 
Biog. IX. 89). ‘Cases where the 
ownership of two or three millions in 
stock of the ultimate holding com- 
pany carries control of hundreds of 
millions of capital’ (Nokman Thomas, 
America’s Way Out, 162). 

•fin Eng. hold dcniun — keep in sub- 
jection, oppress. In Am. it some- 
times = keep simply. ‘It must not 
be said that mere strength and steadi- 
ness in holding down a job are the 
marks of an educated man.’ ‘He has 
proved his ability in holding down 
one of the most responsible positions 
in one of the largest railroad systems 
in the coxmtry.’ ‘For a short time 
I also held down a job in a picture 
frame factory’ (Morris Hillquit, 
Loose Leaves from a Busy Life, 83). 

fit is a common practice of bandits 
to compel their victims to hold up 
their hands at the point of the 
revolver. A hold-up accordingly de- 
notes a robbery of this type. ‘ I found 
myself staring into the barrel of a 
Colt’s six-shooter before I grasped 
the idea that it was a hold-up,’ The 
word may also be used in a fig, sense. 
‘If W’e should go to Nicaragua now 
the chances of a financial hold-up 
there would be just as great as at 
Panama.’ Hence hold-up man = 
bandit, ‘Hold-up men are not as a 
rule organized, and often are run- 
down professionals who no longer are 
competent for the crimes requmng 
greater skill’ (Prof. C. E. IVIeeriam, 
Chicago, 38). 

fAlthough it is the victims that 
actually hold up their hands on such 
occasions the expression hold up has 
curiously come to be applied to the 
action of the criminals. ‘The gang 
of outlaws had planned to hold up 
the west-bound express.’ ‘It was 
never my fate to be held up, though 
frequently the stage wliich just pre- | 

ceded or followed mine was robbed.’ 
The verb, like the noun, may be used 
fig. ‘There were occasions when an 
owmer [of land], seeing his oppor- 
timity to hold up the railroad, de- 
manded an exorbitant price’ (Mark 
Sullivan, Our Tunes, iii. 194). 

fBoth as noun and verb hold up may 
also be used as a synonym for delay, 
without any suggestion of intimida- 
tion. ‘Out of the 900 steerage pas- 
sengers, 135 failed to pass the immi- 
gration inspectors, and were held up.’ 
‘It was not imusual for trains to be 
held up literally for hours by herds of 
buffaloes crossing the tracks’ (Prof. 
A. E. Martin, Hist, of U.S. ii. 109). 

The Am. compound hold-over has the 
same meaning as hang-over and left- 
over, It denotes a person or thing 
surviving from an earlier time or 
condition. ‘There were only 40 cases 
on the calendar, all “hold-overs” — 
that is, complaints turned in during 
the previous administration.’ ‘He 
has mmself had m charge the initial 
organization of his own Department. 
Consequently, his work has not been 
hampered by a horde of Tammany 
hold-overs.’ ‘Los Angeles was wailing 
for the staff of life and doing the best 
it could on crackers and cheese and 
hold-overs.’ ‘The little village of 
Washington in Connecticut, one of 
the most charming hold-overs of the 
past that state possesses.’ ‘His post- 
master-general, a hold-over from 
Monroe’s cabinet’ (T. C. Pease, The 
U.S. 812). See hang and leave. 

home. Americans often speak of 
Philadelphia as a ‘city of homes’. 
To an Englishman that description 
is quite unmeaning. Every city is 
mhabited mainly by families, and 
all families have homes. The ex- 
planation is suggested in the following 
passage; ‘Phil^elphia is a city of 
homes; there is a dwellmg house for 
every five persons of the population’ 
(L. Steffens, The Shame of the 
Cities, 194). It thus appears that in 
Am. home denotes a house inhabited 
by a single family, as distinct from 




a flat or boarding-house. Hence the 
word is often used where house would 
be used in Eng. ‘Building of Homes 
Goes On Steadily’ is the heading of 
a news item reporting a decrease in 
the housing shortage. ‘Experience 
has demonstrated that hot water or 
steam is the most healthful and 
satisfactory agent for heatmg homes’ 
(Advt.). ‘One new industry that 
seems to meet these requirements is 
the manufacture and assembly of 
machme-made homes.’ ‘I was asked 
to dinner in the finest home in the 
city’ (A. Suhbridge, Confessions of a 
Club Woman, 90). As Greenough and 
Kittredge pomt out (Words and their 
Ways, 143) home is thus losmg in Am. 
the ‘tender connotations’ which find 
expression in the familiar song, 
‘Home, sweet home’, having become 
little more than a colourless synonym 
for hoiise or residence. 

Another spec. Am. use is seen in 
such expressions as the Smith home = 
Eng. Mr, Smithes, ‘Mrs. Roosevelt 
left here yesterday for the Wilmer 
home.’ ‘Their meetmg took place at 
the Wilcox home in Buffalo’ (H. F. 
Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt, 239). 
The attrib. use of home is much 
more frequent in Am. than in Eng. 
‘With his formal education behind 
him, Bailey returned to his home 
county’ (S. H. Acheson, Joe Bailey, 
18). ‘This woman was a former ac- 
quaintance of Flavia’s in her home 
town’ (L. N. Wright, Limbs of an 
Old Family Tree, 92). ‘All this in his 
home city, to which he was deeply 
attached’ (E. L. Masters, The Tale 
of Chicago, 124). ‘The effect may be 
noted in the author’s home state’ 
(Cassius M. Clay, The Mainstay of 
Am. Individualism, 15). 

The baseball glossary in the Encycl, 
Britann, defines home plate as ‘base 
at first comer of diamond and that 
also at which batter stands to bat’, 
and home run^ or homer, as ‘a hit that 
permits batter to make circuit of all 
bases without error being made in 
handling the ball’. These terms are 
sometimes used fig. 

For Old Home Day and Old Home 
Week, see old. 

homely. St. John Ervine has con- 
fessed (Observer, Jan. 13, 1929) that 
on his first visit to the U.S. he utterly 
disgraced himself by sajnng of a lady 
to whom he wished to be compli- 
mentary that she was homely, ‘My 
meaning’, he explains, ‘was that she 
put people at their ease and made 
them feel at home, but in Am. homely 
means plain, if not actually ugly.’ 
Thus: ‘John Sharp Williams has got 
nd of two days’ beard he wore, but 
he is still the homeliest man in St. 
Louis. He bitterly disappoints the 
swarms of admirers who eagerly ask 
to have the brilliant Dem. pointed 
out. “What, that homely man?” is 
the universal and disappointed query.’ 
‘“The homeliest face I have ever 
seen”, said a painter the other day, 
“was that of a girl who might just 
as well have been pretty”.’ ‘She had 
a puzzled expression. Maria’s hair 
was diverting her from her own 
troubles. She could not understand 
why any girl should deliberately 
make herself homely’ (Mary E. 
Wilkins Freeman, By the Light of 
the Soul, 442). ‘As far as physical 
good looks are concerned, municipal 
bosses do not seem to be distinctive. 
The majority are neither dashingly 
handsome nor painfully homely’ 
(Dr. H. Zink, City Bosses in U.S. 14). 
‘Those who wish to live in this way, 
growing sick and homely and old long 
before their time, have a right to do 
so’ (Dr. R. L. Alsaker, Eating for 
Health and Efficiency, 167). ‘The 
reason which sometimes impels busi- 
ness men to employ male steno- 
graphers or homely female steno- 
graphers: fear of domestic complica- 
tions’ (Rotary? 122), 

homestead. ‘ In 1862, by the Home- 
stead Act, Congress established the 
pnnciple of giving away a quarter 
section of land to any head of a 
family, native or immigrant, after he 
had lived five years upon it and had 
paid a fee of about $40’ Prof. A. B. 




Habt, Actual Government, 339). 
Accordingly the term homestead^ 
which in Eng. has the general mean- 
ing of farmstead, is spec, applied in 
Am. to a piece of land thus allotted 
under the Homestead Act, ‘One day 
the agent called us in and said that 
there was one isolated homestead 
away up on the eastern slope of the 
valley. We filed on [i.e. made formal 
application for] it’ (M. H. Hartwick, 
in Life in the U.S, 1). 

Hence the verb homestead and the 
denvative homesteader. ‘The little 
claim that he homesteaded was, in 
the beginning, like those of his neigh- 
bors.’ ‘He freighted across the 
prairie until he had made some money 
and then he homesteaded on a rise 
in the praine where he liked the view’ 
(M. McKernan, m Life in the U.S. 
212). ‘A solitary homesteader built 
him a cabin at the foot of Ceriso.’ 
‘Homesteaders came by thousands in 
almost penniless estate’ (A. Nevins, 
The Emergence of Modern Am. 159). 

See also subsistence. 

hono(u)r system. In Eng. univer- 
sities, this term denotes the system 
by which special distmction is award- 
ed to students who pass a more 
advanced examination than that 
taken by pass-men. The Am. mean- 
ing is sliown in the following quota- 
tions. ‘There has of late been con- 
siderable discussion of the so-called 
honor system in colleges. The phrase 
generally applies merely to the con- 
duct of written examinations, during 
which the students, being on honor 
to accept no aid, are released from 
supervision of any kind.’ ‘The most 
successfiii plan of combating the 
tendency of college students to cheat 
in examinations has been some form 
of an “honor system”, by which the 
pupil is implicitly trusted and his 
statement accepted that he used no 
dishonest aids.’ ‘The men who were 
against the honor system said that 
at Columbia, under existing condi- 
tions, there was lacking that esprit 
de corps which was absolutely neces- 

sary before any honor system could 
be made effective.’ 

hono{u)rable. In Am. there is no 
official rule determining the applica- 
tion of the title Honorable (commonly 
abbreviated, as in Eng., to Hon,), In 
general practice this title is applied 
to (1) the President and members of 
his Cabinet, (2) members of either 
House of Congress, (3) State Gover- 
nors and holders of the more impor- 
tant State offices, (4) members of 
State Legislatures, and (5) almost any 
other pohtician or government official, 
major or minor, to whom one desires 
to pay a compliment. In his autobiog. 
W. G. McAdoo relates how, when he 
was an obscure country lawyer in his 
21st year, he succeeded in getting 
himself appointed to fill a vacancy 
as an alternate delegate among the 
Tennessee representatives to the Dem. 
national convention. ‘The secre- 
tary’, he tells us, ‘made out a card 
of credentials in the name of the 
“Honorable” W. G. McAdoo. I cer- 
tainly felt very important’ (Crowded 
Years, 38). It should be noted that 
the title IS not used by the news- 
papers in their references to the per- 
sons to whom it is given, but only 
in more or less formal documents. 
Thus, if Mr. Hull, the Secretary of 
State, were speaking at a public 
dinner, he might be introduced as 
‘the Honorable Cordell Hull’ and his 
name might so appear in the pro- 
gramme of the proceedings, but the 
title would usually be omitted in the 
newspaper reports of his speech. 

Am. newspapers, misled by the 
application of the term to members 
of Congress, often apply the same 
title to members of the British Parlia- 
ment. A leading New Eng. paper has 
even made itself responsible for the 
remarkable statement that ‘all mem- 
bers of Parliament are “right honor- 
able’” (Springfield Weekly Bepubli- 
can, Nov. 5, 1931). Actually, neither 
Hon, nor Bight Hon, is ever given 
to an M.P, in virtue of his elec- 
tion, although one member refers to 




another, in the course of a debate, as 
‘the hon. gentleman’ or ‘the hon. 
member’. In Eng. the title of Hon, 
is given to (1) the children of peers in 
certain instances, (2) past and present 
maids of honour, (3) judges of the 
High Court, and (4) members of 
government or executive councils 
in India and the Dominions. Right 
Hon, is the title of pnvy councillors, 
peers below the rank of marquis, 
the holders of certain high judicial 
offices, and the lord mayors and lord 
provosts of certain cities. 

In Eng. an unpaid secretary of a 
society is commonly called its 
honorary secretary. This is often ab- 
breviated to hon, secretary or hon, 
sec. The hon, m this designation is 
frequently misunderstood in Am. 
Thus, a N.y. literary paper reviews 
a book by ‘the Honorable Secretary 
of the Royal Astronomical Society’. 

hood. The hood of an Am. automo- 
bile is not a folding roof, but that 
part of the car which m Eng. is known 
asthedonnef. ‘When the family goes 
to the automobile show the mother 
will be apt to stand back and say, 
“That’s a beauty. I want that one”. 
Dad will be likdy to open the hood 
and say, “Seventy horsepower. That’s 
the one I want”,’ ‘The less specta- 
cular horsepower hidden under the 
hoods of motor trucks’ (G. A. 
Hastings, Happy Journeys to Yes- 
terday, 38). 

thook. In the vocab. of Am. radio, 
the derivative hook-up has been 
coined to denote a connexion between 
different transmitters. ‘The educa- 
tional features offered by the central 
stations may or may not be distri- 
buted on the local or regional hook- 
ups.* ‘A radio hook-up is now made 
so that millions of listeners throughout 
the country may hear the speeches’ 
(C. A. and W. Beard, The Am. 
Leviathan, 225). * J. Pierpont Morgan 
spoke for the first time over the radio 
from his home on Madison Ave., 
N.Y. City, over a nation-wide N.B.C. 
hook-up’ (World Aim. for 1933, 101). 

hop. The verb hop may be used 
trans. in Am. in the sense of jump 
onto, ‘An ordinary citizen may pack 
his bag, hop a tram for Washington, 
and transact his own business with 
the Departments.’ ‘ Hopping a freight 
cost Edward Monahan both feet and 
may cost him his life. He was with 
other boys at Gardner Falls to catch 
a ride on a west-bound freight, when 
he fell off a car, the wheels passing 
over the left leg at the knee and the 
right leg at the ankle.’ ‘Doing some- 
thing that would justify me in pack- 
ing my bag and hopping a train to 
Chicago’ (Alice Roosevelt Long- 
worth, Crowded Hours, 212). 

fhorse. For some unknown reason 
the quality known as common sense 
in Eng. is also called horse sense in 
Am. ‘Dress to smt the weather. 
The spectacle of hundreds of men in 
high double-band collars, mopping 
their perspiring necks, is not one to 
inspire enthusiasm for the much- 
vaunted “horse sense” of the Am. 
people.’ ‘There was plenty of good, 
solid, horse-sense in Flood’s advice’ 
(Andy Adams, Log of a Cowboy, 
29). ‘This was a non-scientific, horse- 
sense method of much value’ (P. E. 
Sargent, Handbook of Am. Private 
Schools, 47). 

hostile is in Am. sometimes a noun, 
denoting an Indian belonging to a 
tribe wMch is unfriendly to the whites. 
‘The hostiles assured the General that 
they were tired of constant warfare’ 
(B. Davis, The Truth about Gero- 
nimo, 69). 

fhot. The Am. term hot dog denotes 
a sort of sandwich, consistmg of 
bread or a split roll in which is en- 
closed a hot sausage daubed with 
mustard. It is a favourite edible at 
Coney Island and other popular 
resorts. ‘The hot-dog stands on the 
motor roads sell gin’ (E, Wilson, 
The Am. Jitters, 1). ‘One five-cent 
glass of cider secured for me a square 
meal of “hot dogs” between thick 




slices of rye bread’ (Dr. Franklin H. 
IVLvrtin, The Joy of Living, i. 158). 

For hot air, see air. 

house. When it forms part of the 
name of a building, house denotes in 
Eng. either (1) a large, and usually 
aristocratic, place of residence, as 
Hatfield House, Apsley House, or (2) 
an office-building, as Unilever House, 
Shell-Mex House. 

In Am. a name of this kind, in dis- 
tinction from the Eng. practice, is 
always preceded by the definite 
article. In a city it denotes an hotel. 
‘More serious prospectors sat around 
the hotel lobbies — ^the Am. House, 
the Eagle House, and dozens of 
others’ (J. T. Flynn, God’s Gold, 
95). In the case of the most recent 
buildings, however, the tendency is 
to supersede Home by Hotel. In the 
country the word denotes a place of 
residence, often of a qmte unpre- 
tentious type. ‘The only person in 
the village who could remember his 
coming to Harpledon and opening and 
repairing the old Cranch house was 
old iVIiss Lucilla Selwick, who lived 
in the Selwick house’ (E. Whajeiton, 
Here and Beyond, 34). 

The distinction between these two 
meanings is indicated by the use or 
non-use of a capital initial. Thus, the 
Johnson House would be understood 
to be an hotel, while the Johnson house 
would be a house occupied by a family 
named Johnson. 

See BUILDING and home. 

housekeeping. In Am. the term 
light housekeeping is employed to 
denote a manage in which a person 
rents a room which is provided with 
facihties for the preparation of minor 
meals. ‘To let, two and three fur- 
nished rooms, with bath, for light 
housekeeping’ (Advt.). ‘High-priced 
rooms, many with board, high- 
sounding accommodations that ffis- 
suaded us from asking if light house- 
keeping would be tolerated’ (Dr 
Franklin H. IVIartin, The Joy of 
Living, i. 133). It is told of Ella 
Wheeler Wilcox that she once wrote 

for a newspaper some verses con- 
taining the Ime: ‘]\Iy soul is a light- 
house keeper.’ To her horror it ap- 
peared in print: ‘My soul is a light 

hundredweight. The Eng. hun- 
dredweight = 112 lb. avoirdupois, 
but the Am. = 100 lb. 

hunt. An Englishman hunts foxes, 
stags, otter(s), and even hares. 
When he pursues grouse or partridge 
with a view to their slaughter, he does 
not go hunting but shooting. An 
Am., on the other hand, hunts 
feathered creatures and four-legged 
animals alike. ‘The hunt is better 
than for ^’-ears, the high tides having 
brought the mud hens and reed 
birds in countless thousands.’ ‘Many 
Americans are among the enthusiastic 
sportsmen who for the last three days 
Imve been hunting the grouse of Scot- 
land.’ ‘The Massachusetts hunting 
season has been disappointing. The 
two months when it has been allow- 
able to shoot ruffed grouse, woodcock 
and quail have been ill-suited for the 
sport.’ In a N.Y. paper a picture of 
a large flock of wild ducks is entitled 
‘A Huntsman’s Dream of Paradise’. 
An Eng. paper would have used the 
word sportsman. 

hurry is in Am. an adj. as well as a 
verb and a noun. ‘The Commissioner 
sent a hurry message to Albany, to 
have the bill affecting his department 
amended.’ ‘The Mayor made a hurry 
visit to the city.’ ‘ I sent a hurry call 
to the Charity Hospital’ (E. Gold- 
man, Living My Life, 142), 

hurt. The past partic. hurt may be 
applied in Am. to things as well 
as persons. ‘The eagerly awaited 
hurt book sale begins to-day. Every 
book that has suffered in the least 
in the Christmas rush is included’ 
(Advt.). In Eng. such books would be 
described as damaged or shop-soiled. 

husky is used in Eng. only in the 
senses of dry as a husk, and (of a voice) 
hoarse. In Am. it also = sturdy. 
‘The veterans are not veterans at aU, 




but the huskiest set of young fellows.’ 
‘The streets and country roads are 
thronged with husky, able-bodied 
men.’ ‘The trade required little skill; 
almost any husky young man with 
good nerves could pick up all its 
tricks in a short time’ (L. Adamic, 
Dynamite, 189). 

As a noun, husky denotes an Eskimo 
dog. ‘He has lived m Alaska in the 
wMte wilderness, with a good bunch 
of huskies between him and death.* 

hustings, now rare in Eng., because 
the thing it once denoted was abo- 
lished by the Ballot Act of 1872, sur- 
vives in Am. m the sense of a plat- 
form at a meeting held during an 
election campaign. ‘The Dem. hust- 
ings from Esopus to Brooklyn teemed 
with infamous charges, scandalous 
hints and innuendoes.’ ‘How the 
phrase rolled and boomed from 
thousands of hustings that year 
throughout the South and West’ 
(S. H. Acheson, Joe Bailey, 87). 
‘He proved himself one of the most 
effective and convmcing speakers we 
ever had on the hustings’ (Prof. J. D. 
Lauohlin, The Federal Reserve Act, 

thustle is usually trans. in Eng. and 
ss jostle. In Am. it is most commonly 
intrans., as in some Eng. dial., and « 
7nx>ve quickly and energetically, not to 
say fussily. ‘Some other means of 
raising the needed money will be 
devised, and the pastor will get out 
and hustle for it.’ ‘Must furnish 
satisfactory recommendations as to 
his ability as a progressive, level- 
headed, hustling man’ (Advt.). ‘A 
man 68 years old has walked from 
Philadelphia to this city in 23 hours. 
Even an old man hustles when he is 
getting out of Philadelphia for N.Y.’ 
‘The southern states and the great 
undeveloped western territory were 
filled with hustling pioneers’ (Prof. 
T. J. Geayson, Leaders and Periods 
of Am. Pmance, 176). ‘Gary and 
Frick hustled by special train at mid- 
night to Washington’ (J. T. Flyrnt, 
God’s Gold, 480). 

Hence the nouns hitstle and hustler. 
‘The firemen put on a little extra 
hustle in getting around.’ ‘He was 
the sort of hustler that, when a 
branch line was needed in haste, 
would have his rails down before lie 
ordinary man could get his bid in,’ 

hyphenate. ‘Wasn’t the President’s 
message on the hyphenated gentle- 
men bully?’ (Letters of Franklin K. 
Lane, 188). Had Mr. Wilson, then, 
been following Lord Randolph Chur- 
chill’s example and castigating the 
mediocnties with double-barrelled 
names? Not at all. The objects of 
the President’s denunciation were 
certain German-Americans who had 
been engaged in intrigues against 
the welfare of the U.S. The term 
hyphenated Americans is in common 
use to denote German-Americans, 
Insh- Americans, and so on, esp. when 
there is reason to suspect that, though 
technically Am. citizens, their alle- 
giance is really divided between the 
nationalities represented on both 
sides of the hyphen. They are some- 
times called hyphenates and their 
divided loyalty is described as 
hyphenation. ‘They [German immi- 
grants in the Middle West] kept their 
own social organization and even 
went so far as to get the State laws 
published in the German language 
in Indiana in 1858. This tendency 
toward hyphenation has made the 
Germans a less valuable element in 
the Am, population up to the present 
tune than they should have been’ 
(Madison Gbant, Conquest of a 
Continent, 181). 


ice. tThe Am. metaphor cut ice is 
very different in meanmg from break 
the ice. It is equivalent to count for 
anything, and is usually found with 
a negative. ‘He admitted that the 
international strike he had called did 
not cut much ice.’ ‘The czar is to 
send an ice-breaking boat to the Far 




East, realizing apparently that his 
forces haven’t been cutting much ice 
over that way.’ ‘It took me little 
time to discover that belonging to 
the best Society in San Francisco cut 
no ice in N.Y.’ (G. Atherton, Ad- 
ventures of a Novelist, 143). 

Am. ice water « Eng. iced water. 

ill is an adv. as well as an adj., and 
there is accordmgly no need of 
which often takes its place in Am. 
‘Ely considered legislation.’ ‘We 
were driven at perilous speed through 
lUy-lighted streets’ (H. W. Taft, 
Japan and Am. 100). ‘Adequate ap- 
preciation can be but illy expressed’ 
(A. A. Ettinger, The IVIission to 
Spain of Pierre Soul^, pref.). ‘To 
meet a crisis of this kind labor was 
Uly prepared’ (C. A. and M. R. Beard, 
The Rise of Am. Civilization, ii. 213). 

impractical. In Eng. one speaks 
of (1) an unpractical person and (2) 
an impracticable thmg. In Am. im- 
practical serves the purpose of both 
these epithets. (1) ‘He argued that 
a professor must necessanly be 
theoretical and impractical’ (Prof. 
C. E. Merriam, Chicago, 270). ‘The 
modem school is not wholly the 
development of impractical theorists’ 
(P. E. Sargent, Handbook of Am. 
Private Schools, 23). (2) ‘It proved 
a constmctive, statesmanlike docu- 
ment of high order but impractical’ 
(Prof. A. E. Martin, Hist, of U.S. 
i. 33). ‘The details of Eliot’s scheme 
of government were quite impracti- 
cal’ (Prof. H. W. Schneider, The 
Puritan Mind, 25). ‘The making of 
all laws by direct action of the people 
would be hopelessly impractical’ 
(Prof. H. L. McBain, The Living 
Constitution, 202). 

in. ‘Taking his first vacation in four 
years.’ ‘The most comprehensive 
statement that has appeared in many 
a long day.’ ‘The worst wreck that 
has occurred in this part of New 
Jersey in some time.’ ‘Some of the 
greatest works in the repertory of 
German opera have not been heard 

here in years and years.’ ‘He had 
not eaten a substantial meal in so 
long that he had forgotten the taste 
of food,’ In all these examples, En^. 
idiom would have required /or instead 
of in, wherever the preposition is used 
to govern a word denotmg a space of 

inaugural, inauguration. The cere- 
mony which takes place when a new 
Pres, of the U.S. enters upon his 
office is called his inauguration, and 
the day on which it is held is inaugura’- 
tion day. His formal allocution on 
this occasion is known as an inaugural 
address, often abbrev. to inaugural* 
‘All the relations came to Washington 
for the Inauguration.* ‘The Rough 
Riders supplied the principal motif 
at the inauguration in 1905’ (H. F. 
Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt, 362). 
‘The wintry days of the Taft in- 
auguration four years before’ (D. 
Lawrence, The True Story of Wood- 
row Wilson, 85). ‘The following 
March, when he pLincoln] delivered 
his second inaugural, the surrender 
at Appomattox was scarcely a 
month away’ (J, Truslow Adams, 
The Epic of Am, 268). ‘The civil- 
service reform pledges of the plat- 
form, which Pres. Hayes repeated 
with great emphasis in the inaugural’ 
(Prof. J. W. Bxjrgess, The Admini- 
stration of Pres. Hayes, 58). 

The same terms are used in con- 
nexion with entrance upon the 
governorship of an Am. State or the 
headship of an Am. university. 

Independence Day. It was on July 
4th, 1776, that the Declaration of 
Independence was adopted by the 
Continental Congress. The anniver- 
sary of that date is observed as a legal 
holiday throughout the U.S. under 
the official name of Independence 

The term in most general use, how 
ever, is the Fourth of July, often 
abbrev. to the Fourth. ‘The book is 
worth about ten Fourth of July 
orations in showing the reader his 
duty to be a worthy citizen.’ ‘The 




tremendous display of fireworks 
which Vesuvius is sending up every 
night may lead the inhabitants of 
Mars to think that every day is the 
Fourth of July in Italy at the present 
time.’ ‘The courts are acting wisely 
in undertaking to prevent the use of 
dangerous explosives by making their 
sale an offense likely to be punished. 
It is not the small boy, but his elders, 
who have given us a deadly Fourth.’ 
‘There were four great public holi- 
days: the Fourth, the Grange picnic, 
the circus and the country fair’ 
(A. Nevins, The Emergence of 
Modem Am. 156). 

initiation. In Am. clubs, iniiiation 
fee = Eng. entrance fee, ‘Unique 
among clubs, it levies no initiation 
fee and no annual dues’ (Advt.). 
‘Honorary members pay no dues or 
initiation fees’ (Rotary? 115). The 
Eng. term is also used in Am. See 


inn. In Eng. innholder is now obs., 
having been superseded by innkeeper. 
The latter is the more usual term in 
Am. also, but a visitor to Atlantic 
City will find on the door of his room 
in the hotel a notice containing ex- 
tracts from ‘an act concerning inn- 
holders, boarding-house keepers and 
their guests, in the State of New 

inning. In Eng. the plur. form, 
innings, is mvanably used, whether 
the sense is sing, or plur. In Am. the 
sing, form, inning, is employed for 
the sing, sense. ‘The Ambassador’s 
team won by 12 runs and one inning.’ 
‘The woman with pretty arms is en- 
joying an inning these days.’ ‘As he 
had done aU the talkmg the night 
before, so now I was to have an 
innmg’ (Hamlin Garland, Roadside 
Meetings, 488). ‘The man of action 
had his inning’ (Dr. Franklin H. 
Martin, The Joy of Living, i. 5). 

lnstal(l)ment. Am. installment sel- 
ling s= Eng, hire purchase. It may, 
or may not, be significant that this 
kind of business transaction is ordi- 

narily regarded in Am. from the point 
of view of the seller but in Eng. from 
that of the buyer. ‘It was the time 
of mergers, mass production, com- 
mon stocks, and installment selling.’ 

institute. In Eng. an institute is as 
permanent a thmg as an institution. 
In Am. it is a temporary afiair — a 
series of lectures and classes, esp. for 
the training of teachers, similar to 
a summer school exc. that it may be 
held at any time of year. ‘Sunday- 
school institutes have recently been 
held m the dioceses of Pittsburgh 
and Maryland. At the former the 
pnncipal address was delivered by 
. . . The Maryland Institute heard 
addresses from. . . .’ ‘The burden of 
this campaign was education. The 
Legislature had provided the machin- 
ery in the shape of so-called “teach- 
ers’ institutes” — essentially rovmg 
commissions to improve education^ 
conditions. Wherever these young 
exhorters could assemble an audience 
— mountain cabins, in rural schools , 
in open fields, at the crossroads — ^they 
forced their theme’ (B. J. Hendrick, 
Earlier Life of Walter H. Page, 401). 
‘The public health nurses of the 
Connecticut valley opened a three- 
day institute at Carnegie hall, 
Northampton, this mormng.’ 

For a full account of the institutes 
recently introduced into the system 
of many Am, universities, see Dr. 
Abraham Flexner’s Unwersities, p. 
110. In this connexion, he says, the 
word ‘may mean something or 

finstitution. The adj. institutional 
is spec, used in Am. as a descriptive 
epithet for a church which includes 
many social organizations among its 
activities. ‘Rainsford was known to 
the general public in his own genera- 
tion as the pioneer of the institutional 
church. He found the church a 
building for worship, he left it an 
organization for service.’ 

instruct has a spec, meaning in the 
vocab. of Am. politics. When dele- 




gates are sent from a minor party 
organization to a major convention 
where nominations to office are to be 
made, they are often appointed on 
the understanding that they will vote 
for certain candidSites. They are then 
said to be instructed to vote for or 
instructed for such candidates. 'The 
Democrats of Texas instructed their 
delegates to vote for him’ (W. G. 
McAnoo, Crowded Years, 129). ‘As 
a delegate from Nebraska, he was 
instructed to vote for Clark’ (Prof. 
A. E. Martin, Hist, of U.S. ii. 515). 
‘We were instructed for Bryan. We 
would all vote for him on the first 
ballot’ (F. J. Stimson, My U.S. 135). 

The term instruct is similarly used 
in other cases where a delegate’s 
action is prescribed for him by those 
who appointed him. ‘In 1877 he 
became Senator from Mississippi. 
Being instructed in 1878 by the legis- 
lature of Mississippi how to vote on 
the Bland Bill, he refused to obey, 
and his course was ultimately sanc- 
tioned by the people of the State’ 
(Prof. W. P. Trent, Southern 
Writers, 388). 

Hence instructions^ in a correspond- 
ing sense. ‘The state convention will 
send 78 delegates to St, Louis with 
ironclad instructions for him.’ ‘There 
are two kinds of instructions: one, 
“First, last, and all the time”, which 
binds the delegates in the national 
convention to vote all the time for 
their candidate; the other, simple 
instructions, which only bmds them 
to vote for him on the first ballot or 
two’ (F. J. Stimson, My U.S. 134). 

In Am. colleges an instructor is a 
junior teacher inferior in rank to 
a professor. He is of lower status 
than a tutor in a college of Oxford or 
Cambridge or a lecturer at other Eng. 
universities. ‘After spending a year 
as a fellow at Princeton in physics, 
he was made instructor in mathema- 
tics’ (Diet- Am. Biog. vi. 386). ‘He 
went through Harvard College mainly 
as a matter of form, and remained 
in that institution after graduation as 
instructor and as an assistant in the 

library’ (W. M. Payne, Editorial 
Echoes, 270). ‘Dr. Wilfired P. Mustard 
was appointed Instructor in Latin and 
later raised to the position of Pro- 
fessor’ (Dr. Rtotts M. Jones, Haver- 
ford College, 77). 

insular. The term insular cases 
denotes a series of important cases 
decided by the U.S. Supreme Court 
in 1901. The question at issue was 
whether the Constitution of the U.S. 
applied to Porto Rico and the Philip- 
pines, which had recently been an- 
nexed. If it did, the inhabitants of 
these islands would be entitled to 
the constitutional guarantees enjoyed 
by Am. citizens, and their products 
would enter the ports of the U.S. 
unrestricted by any tariff. ‘ In answer 
to the basic question, “Does the 
Constitution follow the flag?” the 
Court decided “yes”, but "with im- 
portant and sweeping qualifications. 
The Constitution was held to consist 
of two kinds of provisions, “funda- 
mental” and “formal”, only the 
former of which applied to the de- 
pendencies. The Court intimated 
that it would declare from time to 
time, as specific cases arose, which 
provisions possessed this fundamental 
quality. In deciding the concrete 
issues then before it, the trend of the 
Court’s thmkmg became apparent. 
Acc. to the “Insular Cases”, the in- 
habitants of these scattered posses- 
sions are not citizens of the U.S. 
unless and until Congress expressly 
confers citizenship upon them’ (Prof. 
A. M. ScHLESiNGER, Political and 
Social Hist, of the U.S. 479). 

Interference is a technical term of 
the Am. Patent Office. Sec first 
quotation. ‘ If there is a prior applica- 
tion for substantially the same in- 
vention a proceedmg called interfer- 
ence is instituted for the purpose of 
determining the question of priority 
of mvention’ (Encycl, Soc. Sci. xii. 
21). ‘'The Commissioner of Patents is 
by statute made the tribunal of last 
resort in the Patent Office, and has 
appellate jurisdiction in the trial of 




interference cases’ (Congressional 
Directory). ‘The Patent Office there- 
upon declared an interference between 
the two patentees and a bitter fight 
was precipitated’ (Diet. Am. Biog. 
vii. 408). 

It IS also an Am. football term, de- 
fined by the O.E.D. as ‘the act of 
interposing between a runner and a 
tackier to obstruct the latter.’ ‘Much 
that seemed intentional rough play 
was the “interference” which, for- 
bidden by the Eng. rules, is the most 
characteristic feature of our game.* 
‘New rules were adopted as regards 
downs, tackling and interference’ 
(Prof. A. M. ScHLESiNGEB, The Rise 
of the City, 317). 

Intermission has two spec, uses in 
Am. It may denote (1) an interval 
between lessons in school, such as in 
Eng. schools is usually called a hreak^ 
or (2) an interval between the acts 
at a dramatic performance. 

(1) ‘Every girl is given a half-hour 
intermission morning and afternoon 
to lounge in the rest-room and read 
or gossip.’ ‘The pupils meet in the 
auffitorium for general exercises, 
after which, except for brief periods 
of intermission, the day is spent in 
classrooms’ (Dr. C. C. Boyer, Hist, 
of Education, 447). 

(2) ‘When the curtain descended for 
the intermission, Dan stepped into 
the little corridor back of the boxes 
to smoke a cigarette* (H. Footneb, 
The Bingjof Eyes, 97). 

internal. Am. internal revenue = 
Eng. inland revenue, ‘These per- 
centages stood at 14*7 per cent, for 
customs and 68-78 per cent, for in- 
ternal revenue’ (Prof. A. E. Martin, 
Hist, of U.S. ii. 719). 

Inure. In Eng. this word is seldom 
employed intrans. exc. as a legal 
term. In Am. it is in everyday use 
in the sense of work out, be operative, 
‘Much of this expense inures to no- 
body’s advantage.’ ‘It would be a 
sin^ar thing if the tariff laws inured 
mainly to the benefit of the working 

man.’ ‘In this they were aided by 
the profits inuring to shrewd mani- 
pulators of corporate finance’ (H. 
O’Connor, Mellon’s Millions, 273). 

inventory. In addition to its normal 
Eng. use, inventory is in Am. a busi- 
ness term corresponding to the Eng. 
stock-taking. Thus one may see ad- 
vertisements of ‘pre-inventory sales’ 
or of sales ‘after inventory clearance’. 
‘Take advantage of this pre-inven- 
tory price and stock up your station- 
ery supply at a great savmg’ (Advt,), 

investment. The Am. term invest- 
ment bank denotes what is called 
in Eng. a merchant bank (because 
firms of this kind were evolved from 
mercantile concerns) and in France 
a banque tndustnelle ; i.e. a firm widch 
does not conduct ordinary banking 
business, but confines itself mainly 
to acceptance and loan issuing. ‘A 
restraint on boom-time extravagance 
which will enrage the promoters, the 
merger experts, the investment 
bankers, the high-pressure sales 

firon. In Am. iron out is often used 
fig., in the sense of smooth out, ‘The 
prospects of ironing out these differ- 
ences are at present not bright’ 
(C. P. Howland, Survey of Am. 
Foreign Relations for 1931, 384). 
‘The iimer differences in credit stand- 
ing between the various branches and 
the parent bank were speedily ironed 
out’ (Prof. T. J. Grayson, Leaders 
and Penods of Am. Fmance, 175). 
‘The President interposed to iron out 
the differences between Secretary 
Mellon and those congressmen who 
thought him too tender of great 
aggregations of wealth* (Diet. Am. 
Biog. viii. 255). 

issue. In Eng. issue sometimes 
denotes the act of issuing. In Am. 
issuance is commonly preferred in 
this sense. ‘Much revenue is lost to 
the railroads by the issuance of these 
free passes.’ ‘A case decided im- 
mediately after the issuance of these 
rules’ (T. C. Blaisdell, The Federal 




Trade Commission, 86). ‘The suit to 
compel the issuance of the bonds 
voted by the people of San Francisco’ 
(G. T. Clark, Leland Stanford, 214). 
* Having much to do with the issuance 
in Norwegian and Eng. of popular 
editions’ (Diet. Am. Biog. ix. 269). 
‘These election results were not 
wholly caused by the issuance of the 
Emancipation Proclamation’ (Prof. 
A. E. Martin, Hist, of U.S. i. 720). 

ivy. See laurel. 


Jag means in Eng. a sharp projection^ 
such as the point of a rock. In Am., 
as formerly in Eng., and still in cer- 
tain Eng. dial., it commonly denotes 
a load, and esp. a load oj hquor that 
is more than the drinker can carry. 
Hence it sometimes means also a 
state of drunkenness, ‘A jag acquired 
in a model saloon will be called a 
condition of cerebral excitement 
superinduced by undue indulgence in 
fermented beverages,’ ‘Those who 
overeat of starches and sweets often 
manufacture much alcohol in the 
digestive tract. They go on a jag 
without knowing what makes them 
feel gay* (Dr. R. L. Alsaker, Eating 
for Health and Efficiency, 479). 

jail delivery. In Eng. the clearing 
a Jail of prisoners by bringing them 
to trial. In Am. a concerted escape 
of several pnsoners from Jail. ‘The 
most daring Jail delivery in the his- 
tory of Delaware occurred in the 
Georgetown Jail to-day, when the 
aged Deputy Sheriff was murderously 
assaulted by eleven negro criminals, 
who, after beating him into insensi- 
bility, made their escape.’ ‘In an 
attempted Jail delivery in the Camden 
County jail to-day six pnsoners 
escaped from the institution.’ ‘There 
was a jail delivery at Lockport yester- 
day, while the sheriff and most of his 
deputies were doing police duty at 

Olcott. Probably the Jail will be more 
strongly guarded hereafter.’ 

Janitor is in much more frequent 
use in Am. than in Eng., where 
doorkeeper or caretaker is commonly 
preferred. ‘ Most of the school janitors 
are paid according to the floor space 
they must attend to. In addition, they 
receive pay acc. to the number and Idnd 
of steam-heating boilers m the school.’ 
‘He thought of the expense of main- 
taimng church worship-“paid choirs 
and organists, salaried Janitors, &c.* 
‘At the factory do you charge the 
boss’s time at the same rate you 
charge for the Janitor’s?’ (L. F. 
Carr, Am. Challenged, 15). ‘Under 
the old method of cleaning a school- 
room, the Janitors would sweep with 
an ordmary broom’ (H. M. Pollock 
and W. S. Morgan, Modem Cities, 
279). ‘At St. Giles’s, Cripplegate, lie 
janitor is a woman’ (W. Winter 
Shakespeare’s England, 180). 

jar. As a trans. verb jar is now rare 
in Eng., but is still in constant use 
in Am, in both (1) the literal and (2) 
the fig. sense. (1) ‘A man was Jarred 
by the sudden stopping of the car 
and dropped his false teeth on the 
footboard.’ (2) ‘ It may Jar romantic 
souls by its tone of superiority toward 
the alluring world of dreams.* ‘A 
centralized organization would take 
care of the re^ar party workers and 
would Jar as little as possible the 
conservative and settled ideas of 
the people themselves’ (J. Kerney, 
Political Education of Woodrow 
Wilson, 32). ‘N. Carolina had never 
before been so angered, so Jarred, so 
instructed, so entertained’ (B. J. 
Hendrick, Earlier Life of Walter H. 
Page, 168). 

jay. In Eng. ^he habits of the bird 
called jay have given rise to the fig, 
use of the word to denote an im- 
pertinent chatterer. The 0,E,D, gives 
examples from Shakespeare. In Am. 
it means rather a simpleton or gullible 
person, ‘The trouble with the reputa- 
tion of Kansas abroad is that the* 



State’s representatives in public life 
are “jays”, though Kansas has as 
many men of culture and refinement 
and capacity as any State in the 

tfThe compound jaywalker denotes 
a person who is foolish enough to 
attempt to cross the street without 
sufficient circumspection. 

Jeer. The earlier Eng. usage, now 
obs., of making jeer a trans., thus 
dispensing with the need of a follow- 
ing aU still survives in Am., as 
in Scotland. ‘The sidewalks were 
jammed with a noisy crowd that 
started to jeer the brokers.’ ‘The 
Dewey who was jeered in April of 
1900 was precisely the same Dewey 
who was idolized in May of 1898’ 
(M. SuixiVAN, Our Times, 341). 
‘When the name of the Am. President 
was jeered in the House of Commons’ 
(L. Denny, Am. Conquers Bntain, 
15). ‘He was repeatedly jeered and 
pelted by unfriendly audiences’ (Diet. 
Am. Biog. VI. 558). 

Jeopardy Jeopardy. In Am. jeopard 
is preferred to jeopardize, the com- 
mon term in Eng. ‘He would not m 
any way jeopard his future interests 
by taking the chairmanship.’ ‘He 
would by that act banish himself 
from communion with his fellows and 
jeopard his possessions to the last 
dime’ (W. J. Ghent, Out Benevolent 
Feudahsm, 180). 

The U.S. Constitution provides that 
no person shall be subject ‘to be twice 
put in jeopardy of life or limb’ for 
the same offence. This guarantee 
against a second trial is commonly 
spoken of as a guarantee agamst 
double jeopardy, ‘There is no specific 
atate constitutional provision pro- 
hibiting double jeopardy’ (G. R. 
Shekeux, Criminal Procedure in N. 
Carolina, 20). ‘The guaranty against 
double jeopardy was extended by 
Congress to the Philippines’ (Prof. 
P. M. Bubdick, Law of Am. Con- 
stitution, 398). ‘He held that one 
conviction for possessing liquor and 
.another convic^on for seUmg the 

same liquor did not violate the con- 
stitutional protection against double 
jeopardy’ (A. T. Mason, Brandeis. 

jerk. No process of violent shaking 
is involved in the preparation of what 
IS called in Am. jerked beef or jerked 
meed. This term denotes meat that 
has been cured by being cut into long 
thm slices and dried in the sun. Acc. 
to the Century Diet,, the word is a 
corruption of a Chilian word charqui 
meaning dried beef, John Bradbury, 
in his Travels in the Interior of Am!, 
published in 1817, writes: ‘We found 
that the Fort was but ill supplied with 
provisions, having little of anything 
but jerked meat.’ ‘Supplies of bread 
from the government bakery were 
issued every noontime, and they 
brought what they chose from home 
to supplement it. Most of them 
brought jerked beef or some such 

The 0,E,D, Suppl. says of the Am, 
compoimd jerkwater that it is ‘used 
attrib. as a term of depreciation’ 
and compares ereshwater (q.v,), 
‘Andrews, with 21 picked soldiers, 
stole the train under the eyes of the 
crew, who were breakfastmg at a 
jerkwater station,’ 

Jersey. In writing of certain resi- 
dents in N.Y. City, Mr. Hamlin 
Garland remarks that ‘their ways 
were quite as remote from the so- 
called captains of industry as from 
the farmers of Jersey’ (The l^anny 
of the Dark, 108). One might natur- 
ally wonder why the manners and 
customs of the Channel Islanders 
should thus be dragged in to point a 
contrast. The Jersey, however, to 
which Mr. Garland is referring is New 
Jersey, the State which is separated 
from N.Y. City by no more than the 
breadth of the Hudson River. It is 
frequently mentioned in Am. without 
its distinguishing adj. ‘Nothing does 
the Jersey commuter enjoy more than 
his country dnves.’ ‘Sir Henry 
Clinton had crossed the Delaware 
with a huge train of waggons and 




artillery, and was scudding away in 
hot haste over the plains of Jersey m 
full retreat from N.Y.’ (Prof. J. A. 
Haerison, George Washington, 317). 
‘A New Jersey reception at the White 
House w’as planned for Feb. 13, 1914. 
. . , The Jersey foUvs had a gala night 
in the White House’ (J. Kjerney, 
Political Education of Woodrow 
Wilson, 282). Jerseyman is similarly 

The reputation of the State of New 
Jersey as an exception to the general 
slowness of criminal procedure m Am. 
has .been crystallized in the term 
Jersey jmtice, ‘Once again has Jersey 
justice vindicated its potentiality; 
once again has the machinery of the 
law given proof that it can move with 
terrible swiftness.’ 

The name of Jersey wagon is given 
to a low basket carnage formerly 
much used in New Jersey. 

Jimmy. In Eng. a burglar’s crowbar 
is called a jemmy, although the fami- 
liar form of the name James, from 
which it is believed to be derived, is 
not Jemmy but Jimmy. In Am. this 
tool is known as b. jimmy. * Lock picks, 
a jimmy, a safe punch, and a revolver 
were there.’ ‘Rob a miser’s safe and 
he’s broke ; but you can’t break a big 
merchant with a jimmy and a stick 
of dynamite’ (G. H. Lorimer, Old 
Gorgon Graham, 159). 

Hence the verb jimmy. ‘The two 
sleuths found that the front door had 
been jimmied.’ 

Joiner. In Am., not a variety of 
carpenter, but a man of such strong 
gregarious instincts that he becomes 
a member of many societies or fra- 
ternal orders. ‘Always a joiner, Jim 
early became an Elk.’ ‘Of all the 
leaders Martin Behrman appears to 
have been the greatest “joiner”. He 
belonged to at least 16 business, 
social, and religious societies’ (Dr. 
H. Zink, City Bosses of U.S. 30), 
‘The Am. of the IVXachine Age was a 
“joiner”: never, apparently, was he 
so happy as when banded together 
with his neighbors and acquaintances 

in an association for the common 
furtherance of fraternal, business, 
moral, or athletic purposes’ (L. M. 
Hacker and B. B. Kendrick, The 
U.S. since 1865, 695). 

Joint is in Am. a colloq. name for 
a low drinking-place or opium den — 
a meaning which gives an obvious 
opportunity for newspaper humour. 
Thus : At which joint did your friend 
have his arm amputated? ” “ That ’s 
a mighty disrespectful way to speak 
of a hospital.”’ Again: ‘Champion 
Jeffries is laid up with a crippled knee. 
This is not the first case on record of 
a prizefighter’s being disabled through 
the influence of a “bad joint”.’ 
‘Despite strmgent enforcement laws, 
there were numerous “joints” where 
liquor was sold more or less openly’ 
(Diet. Am. Biog. xiii. 394). 

The word is infrequent in Am. as 
applied to meat served at table. 

Joker has a spec, meaning in Am. 
politics. It is defined by Webster as 
‘a clause that is ambiguous or appar- 
ently immaterial inserted in a legisla- 
tive bill to render it inoperative or 
uncertain in some respect without 
arousmg opposition at the time of its 
passage ’ . ‘ The committee will elimin- 
ate from the measure the lumber 
“joker”, first exposed by Repre- 
sentative Tawney. This “joker”, in 
practice, would have restored the 
Dingley rate of $2 on rough lumber, 
despite the fact that the bfll was sup- 
posed to reduce the duty 50 per cent. 
The “joker” was concealed in a 
proviso that exacted the maximum 
rates on forest products coming from 
any country that imposed any re- 
strictions whatsoever upon the ship- 
ment or manufacture of lumber.’ 
‘At the last moment the bill was im- 
perilled by discovering a “joker” — 
a provision believed to be surrepti- 
tious, which had escaped attention in 
the heat of debate — ^that was held to 
vitiate the hides-leather compromise’ 
(Prof. N. W. Stephenson, Nelson W. 
Aldrich). ‘The closing days of a long 
and laborious session were at hand. 




At such times it is necessary to exer- 
cise unusual caution, as legislation 
becomes hurried, and frequently is 
stacked with “jokers” that nullify 
the fundamental purpose of the bills’ 
(D. Lawrence, True Story of Wood- 
row Wilson, 113). 


coUoq. as a verb, in a sense that would 
be approximately expressed in Eng. 
by chaff. ‘The clubmen had a good 
time joUymg the Senator in order to 
get his responses.’ ‘When the hard- 
worked business man has jollied the 
professor on having such a lazy time 
of it in summer, the ready answer has 
been that the three months of leisure 
are part of his salary.’ ‘ Flood knew 
it was useless to raUy the boys, for 
a wet, hungry man is not to be jollied’ 
(Andy Adams, Log of a Cowboy, 154). 
The verb is also used in Am. in the 
sense of wheedle^ cajole^ keep in good 
humour. In a speech made at a N.Y. 
club shortly after his appointment to 
the London Embassy, Mr. Whitelaw 
Reid said: ‘Some one spoke the other 
day of the duty of our embassy as 
consisting merely in “jollying the 
English”. In so far as this means 
that whenever an ambassador has to 
say anything he should say a friendly 
thing if he can, the remark is well 

Jolt is used fig. in Am, much more 
commonly than in Eng. ‘As the feud 
now stands it is one of the most malo- 
dorous in the history of the turf, and 
the game at Ascot has suffered a 
severe jolt.’ ‘But Hogg’s supremacy 
now received a severe jolt’ (S. H. 
Acheson, Joe Bailey, 69). ‘The anti- 
quated banking system received a 
terrific jolt in 1907. That year there 
was a disastrous money panic’ (W. G, 
McAdoo, Crowded Years, 212). ‘This 
final step of our reflation wotdd per- 
haps soften the jolt to international 
exchange’ (Prof. Irving Fisher, 
Mastering the Crisis, 65). 

Joy is sometimes used in Am, as 
equivalent to mere pleasure or com- 

/ori, without 'any suggestion of 
ecstatic emotions. ‘The club houses 
have kitchenettes, tea-rooms, and 
many other pleasant arrangements 
that add much to the joy and effici- 
ency of the members’ (Advt.). 

fThe Am. term ^oy ride, introduced 
after motoring became popular, origin- 
ally denoted a ride taken for pleasure 
in a car that is intended to be used 
for business purposes, or in a car that 
is used by an employee without his 
employer’s knowledge. ‘The Acting 
Mayor vetoed, this afternoon, the 
ordinance passed last week to prevent 
city officers from taking “joy rides”, 
providing for conspicuous marking 
of city automobiles.’ ‘A “joy nde” 
early Simday morning ended fatally 
for a chauffeur, who, it is said, was in 
his employer’s car without leave when 
it collided with a milk wagon.’ Now- 
adays the term commoidy denotes 
any nde taken for pleasure, whatever 
the car. 

When this term was first introduced, 
its unfamiharity in Eng. occasioned 
a curious instance of the misinterpre- 
tation of cablegrams. A London 
paper reported that ‘another chauf- 
feur was killed in what is known as 
the Joynde, N.Y., as the result of 
a collision’. 

The term joy-ride is sometimes used 
fig. ‘ The shrewd politicians of Europe 
saw to it that the President of the 
U.S. had a great joy-nde when he 
came to put the finishing touches 
on his vision of everlastmg peace’ 
(J. ICerney, Political Education of 
Woodrow Wilson, 426). 

Judge carries with it in Am. by no 
means such dignified associations as 
it possesses in Eng. It may mean no 
more than a magistrate of a police 
court. ‘The magistrate’s court lo- 
cated in Manhattan and the Bronx 
is organized into a city-wide system 
with more than 40 judges and a Chief 
Magistrate.’ ‘He was a justice of the 
peace and hence was commonly 
known as Judge Wilson’ (Prof. H. J. 
Ford, Woodrow Wilson, 2). ‘Lyman 




Beecher caught the thief, brought him 
back to his room, and made him lie 
on the floor by his bed until morning, 
when he carried him before the judge’ 
(A. Fields, Life and Letters of H. B. 
Stowe, 5). See also xay. 

judiciary* When, in 1932, one Eng. 
judge publicly criticized another from 
the bench, an M.P. announced his 
intention of proposmg in the House 
of Commons a motion declaring that 
such conduct was ‘calculated to lower 
the prestige of the judicature’. If a 
similar incident had occurred in Am., 
the word judiciary would have been 
preferred to j udicature, * A committee 
of attorneys waited upon him to see 
if they could influence him to increase 
the judiciary in their district.’ ‘The 
final debate in the Senate was whether 
rates were to be regulated by an ex- 
tension of the executive branch or 
by the judiciary’ (H. F. Pringle, 
Theodore Roosevelt, 423). ‘A fair and 
impartial judiciary has never been 
better represented than by Judge 
Frank Murphy at this trial’ (A. G. 
Hays, Let Freedom Ring, 231). 

Jug. The handle of a jug is placed 
on one side of it. Hence the term jwg- 
handled is used fig. in Am. as a 
synonym for one^sided^ inequitable. 
‘A great many Canadians are of the 
opinion that at the present time the 
trade between Canada and the U.S. 
is distinctly jug-handled, with the 
handle altogether on the side of our 
people. ... Is it not jug-handled to 
have an average duty of 50 per cent, im- 
posed upon what we import from good 
customers and consider that they are 
only treating us with common fair- 
ness when they impose a duty of 
about 25 per cent, on the merchandise 
which we send to them for sale?’ 

See also pitcher. 

jump. The compound jumping-rope 
is peculiar to Am. It denotes what is 
known in Eng. as a skipping-rope. 

jxmior. Within an Am. household 
a son who bears the same name as 
his father is often addressed or desig- 

nated as Junior instead of by his 
Christian name. ‘A little mgenuity 
and care will make Dad and Junior, 
yes, and Mother too, eat the alkalme- 
rich fruits and vegetables for taste 
as well as for health.’ In public 
references the son may retain the 
appendage long after the death 

of his father has made such a dis- 
tinguishing mark unnecessary. Thus, 
the N.Y. Times of March 6, 1932, 
announced the death of a railroad 
president, Eppa Hunton, Jr., in his 
77th year. 

In Am. colleges is the techni- 

cal term for a student in his third year. 
‘Finally, the sophomores, in despair, 
made a wild charge down the stairs 
and proceeded to bimdle juniors and 
freshmen out of the hall.’ ‘The 
question at once starts itself. Why is 
liie “Jumor” so called in his third 
year and not in his first? The answer 
is that “Junior” and “Senior” are 
short for “Jumor Sophist” and 
“Senior Sophist”. We have here in 
short the Generalis Sophista, the man 
of two years’ standing who has passed 
his “responsions”, who was not quite 
forgotten at Oxford in my younger 
days, and who, I believe, is better 
known both at Cambridge and at 
Dublm’ (E. A. Freeman, Some Im- 
pressions of the U.S. 194). ‘When he 
was only a junior at Cornell, his 
knowledge of botany was such that 
he was appointed an instructor in that 
department’ (Diet. Am. Biog. x. 211). 
The junior college is a recent de- 
velopment in Am. education. It is an 
institution that offers a general two- 
years’ course, such as is normally 
given in the earlier years of the older 
colleges. ‘This phenomenal growth 
of the junior college has come about 
m four ways ; Umversity amputation j 
high-school elongation ; college decapi- 
tation; and independent creation’ 
(Prof. M. A. May, The Education 
of Am. Ministers, iii. 336). 

JunK. associations 

of this word are mainly nautical. 
It denotes primarily the old and 




discarded ropes of a ship, and secon- 
darily salt meat, as being of the con- 
sistence of such ropes. In Am. it is 
the genenc term for any kind of 
material that has been thrown away 
as useless. ‘The machine was hurled 
against a telegraph pole, a mass of 
twisted junk.’ ‘After an hour’s 
search through trays which were 
overloaded with junk, I came upon 
a large quarto volume of Don Quixote’ 
(W. D. OacuTT, Kingdom of Books, 
85), ‘The railroad and its equipment 
was, as a piece of physical property, 
not much better than junk’ (H. 
CnOLY, Marcus Alonzo Hanna, 79). 
The following quotation illustrates 
the fig. use of the word. ‘The pro- 
mised time when musty old precedents 
shall have been relegated to the junk 

Hence the verb junk = discar dy 
throw away as rubbish, ‘It does not 
follow that all unremunerative lines 
should be junked.’ ‘The Am. wants 
action and results. If they are not 
forthcoming he turns to something 
else, a trait that has helped to junk 
so many hopeful third-party begin- 
nings’ (L. Syimes and T. Clement, 
Rebel Am. 371). 

Jurist. The 0,E.D, defines a jurist 
as ‘one who professes or treats of 
law, one versed in the science of law, 
a legal writer’, and it mentions as 
obs. the use of the term to denote 
‘one who practises in law, a lawyer’. 
In Am,, however, the word is still 
used in the latter sense. The Diet 
Am, Biog. describes as jurists many 
men whose qualifications, if they had 
been Englishmen, would not have 
entitled them to that desenption m 
I he Diet, y,al. Biog, 'Sixty-one of 
them 1 member', of the last Senate] 
were jurists, eighteen were busmess 
men, three were farmers, and two had 
been journalists. As to the jurists, 
they are not men who are still active 
as attorneys or judges. Generally 
men are in question who went over 
early from the legal profession into 
politics, and who have lived almost 

entirely m politics. Indeed, not a few 
of these lawyers who have become 
legislators have been for some years 
m commercial life at the head of great 
industnal or railroad corporations, 
so that the majority of jurists is no 
indication whatsoever of any legal 
petrifaction’ (Dr. E. B. Holt, in his 
trans. of Hugo Munsterberg’s The 
Americans, 88). ‘Someone has ob- 
served that the District Judge has 
greater power and jurisdiction than 
any other Am. jurist’ (B. A. IConkle, 
Joseph Hopkmson, 10). ‘A well- 
known jurist at that time [at Chatta- 
nooga] was Judge Trewhitt, who pre- 
sided over the Circuit Court’ (W. G. 
McAdoo, Crowded Years, 41). 

In one instance, at least, this difier- 
ence between Eng. and Am. usage was 
a matter of some importance. When, 
after refusing arbitration, the U.S. 
consented to refer the Alaskan boun- 
dary dispute to a Joint Commission 
consisting of three Am. and three 
British representatives, it was pro- 
vided that this tribunal should con- 
sist of ‘impartial jurists of repute’. 
Two of the three chosen by the U.S. 
were admittedly jurists in no other 
sense than that they had been ad- 
mitted to the Bar. They had made 
no contribution to legal stupes, and 
even their active careers had been in 
politics rather than in the practice 
of the law. (See Allan Nevins’s 
biog. of Henry White, 194, and H, F. 
Pringle’s biog, of Theodore Roose- 
velt, 291.) 

tjust is sometimes used in Am. (1) 
as an intensive and (2) in the sense 
of precisely, (1) ‘Everyone was so 
busy and happy that time just flew.’ 
(2) ‘A controversy arose as to just 
what was the difference between a 
“central bank” and “a system of 
central banking’” (Prof, N. W. 
Stephenson, Nelson W. Aldrich, 
414). ‘Under these circumstances 
just what do you mean by a “ma- 
terialistic conception of history”?’ 
(Norman Thomas, America’s Way 
Out, 137). 





kangaroo. For kangaroo courts see 
quotation. ‘An additional disciplin- 
ary feature found in one fourth of the 
jails of Virginia is the “kangaroo 
court”, an organization of prisoners 
for the purpose of holding mock trials. 
In 13 jails the court is held only inter- 
mittently and is i^ithout contmuous 
organization. In 15 jails, however, 
there is a permanent organization 
having, in most cases, written rules 
and holding sessions whenever there 
is “business” to come before the 

court The “kangaroo court” is 

approved and encouraged by a con- 
siderable number of jailers who find 
it helpful in the running of the jail. 
One jailer reports that he leaves all 
matters of discipline to the court’ 
(Professors F. W. Hopfeb, D. M. 
Manx, and F. N. House, The Jails 
of Virginia, 130). Elsewhere in the 
same book we are told that the 
ofiicials of the court are elected by 
prisoners from among their number. 
The rules of a typical court are repro- 
duced in full. 

fkeep. In Am. for keeps is a collo- 
quial expression meanmg as a per- 
manency, for good. ‘His personal 
opinion is that the gold standard has 
been established for keeps.’ ‘The 
Senator says he is “out of politics” 
for the present, but m fishing for 
keeps.’ The leader of a strike is re- 
ported in a newspaper as saying: 
‘But as soon as his hired men began 
to prod us we made up our minds to 
prod back, and the fight is on for 
keeps.’ ‘There was no unrest over 
the fact that the curtain did not rise 
tmtil 8.30. Once it did go up it atoned 
for the delay by not gomg down again 
for keeps until 2 o’clock Sunday 
morning.’ ‘I read more than was re- 
quired, and I read for keeps too. I 
Imow these subjects to this day’ 
(L. Steffens, Autobiog. i. 112). 

key has two senses peculiar to Am. 
(1) A low sandy island or reef; e.g. 

Key West, off the coast of Florida. 
‘On the Florida Keys hundreds of 
railroad laborers were overwhelmed 
by^ the combined results of hurricane 
and tide.’ ‘On one of the keys of 
Alligator Bay is the principal plume- 
bird rookery left in Florida.’ The 
word in this sense is a variant of cay, 
from the Spanish cayo. 

(2) A watch-key, used as the badge 
of Phi Beta Kappa, the most distin- 
guished of college societies. ‘If we 
made the key stand more for real 
intellectual power and less for mere 
j^ithful drudgery.’ ‘He graduated 
with a Phi Beta Kappa key before 
he was quite twenty’ (Dr. C. R. 
Bbo'WX, They Were Giants, 150). 

A keyman is a telegraphist. ‘In con- 
nection with the visit of the inter- 
national president of the Commercial 
Telegraphers’ Union to this city, 
some of the leading keymen are 
soimding as their shibboleth the cry 
of ‘•government ownership of the 
telegraph systems of this country”.’ 
fA key man is a controlling or 
essential person in an enterprise. 
‘Big business was alarmed at the 
prospect of losing its key men, from 
both the managerial and industrial 
sides, as many were intent upon en- 
listing’ (Dr. Franklin H. Martin, 
The Joy of Living, li. 146). 

kick. In Am. kick, both as verb and 
as noun, is commonly used in a fig. 
sense == criticise or criticism, gener- 
ally with the implication that such 
criticism is opinionated or perverse. 
‘He had about the same comment to 
make on the treaty. He said he ex- 
pected a strong vigorous kick from 
the barley growers of the Northwest, 
but he did not say whether or not he 
would respond to this kick by oppos- 
ing the treaty.’ ‘Together with it 
there grew up naturally another Am. 
trait, that of “boosting” and of ob- 
jecting to criticism as “kicking”’ 
(J. Truslow Ada31s, The Epic of 
Am. 217). 

Hence kicker = critic, objector. 
‘“Kickers” who seem to think eveiy- 




thing has gone wrong and the country 
is going to the demnition bow-wows 
because their wishes have not been 
consulted.’ ‘The reform forces, to 
whom the speaker gave most of his 
attention, were classified by him as 
“ kickers ‘ One word of blame sinks 
deeper, spreads farther, and is longer 
remembered than the most florid 
hymn of praise. It is not surprising, 
then, that in the popular conception 
'‘cntic” and “kicker” are one and 
the same.’ ‘The man who criticized 
or went back East was considered 
not only a “kicker”, but a dangerous 
enemy to growth’ (J. Truslow 
Adams, The Epic of Am. 218). 

•ft The noun Mck may also denote 
*a sharp stimulant effect, e.g. that 
of strong liquor or pungent seasoning ; 
also, a thrifl of excitement, fear, &c.’ 
(O.E.D, Suppl.). ‘At least one could 
toss off a few drinks and get a kick 
out of physical passion and forget 
that the world was crumbling’ 
(F. L. Allen, Only Yesterday, 122). 
For Mck-back, noun and verb, see 
the following quotation. ‘The kick- 
back operates in the following man- 
ner. A wage scale is set either by 
law, as in government contracts, or 
by agreement between capital and 
labor. The worker assumes that he 
is to get so much per day or per hour 
for his work. At the end of the week, 
he is required to return or kick-back 
part of his wages to a designated 
person, often a foreman or a book- 
keeper’ (G. E. SoKOLSKY, in Atlantic 
Monthly, Aug. 1934, 139). 

kill. In Am. newspaper offices 
‘copy’ is said to be killed when the 
responsible editor decides that it is 
not to be published. ‘The leading 
theme on which he [the Am. court 
reporter] builds a sensational, in- 
adequate and misleading “story”, 
which his city editor seldom kills * 
(H. W, Taft, Japan and Am. 81). 
‘The editor can make room by killing 
the last paragraphs of the other 
stories’ (B. L. Shuman, Practical 
Journalism, 62). 

kindle. Wood used for lighting fires 
is commonly known in Am. as 
ling wood, kindling, or kindlings. In 
Eng. these terms are not unknown, 
but firewood is much more usual. 
‘Every household should know about 
our dry pine kindling wood’ (Advt.). 
‘Every two-hour period of sawing 
and splitting of kindling wood was 
followed by a dip and swim in the 
Passaic River’ (Prof. M. Putin, From 
Immigrant to Inventor, 111). ‘Ross 
split kindling and carried up coal.’ 
‘Friends often met him on the street 
carrying kindling under his arm to 
light his office fire’ (Diet. Am. Biog. 
xiv. 529 ). ‘He had taken the kindhngs 
out of the wood-basket and piled them 
up in the fireplace’ (E. O. White, 
Lesley Chilton, 84). ‘A large basket 
full of old parchments, standing on 
the floor, waiting to serve as kindlings 
when the next fire should require 
their use’ (G. E. Merrill, Parch- 
ments of the Faith, 181). 

In descriptions of the results of 
collisions and similar accidents, Am, 
kindling wood == Eng. matchwood, ‘ His 
wagon was smashed into kindlmg 
wood.’ ‘The baggage car half buried 
itself in the sand on the right side 
of the locomotive. It was smashed 
almost to kindling wood.’ 

knife. One may sometimes read in 
an Am. paper at election time that 
such-and-such a candidate has been 
knifed at the polls. This knifing is 
entirely fig., just as in Eng. one often 
speaks fig. of stabbing a man in the 
back. In Am. politics a candidate is 
knifed when members of his own party 
endeavour treacherously to defeat him 
in some underhand way, esp. by 
voting for his opponent. ‘If the 
Governor is defeated, it will be either 
because of the defection of Indepen- 
dents, Prohibitionists, and those who 
have hitherto supported him, or else 
because of knifing within Ids own 
party.’ ‘Intensity of party faction 
leads directly to those dreaded poli- 
tical things, “lukewarmness” and 
“apathy”, and often to actual 




“knifing”.’ ‘If Tammany knifed 
Cleveland, the Mugwumps played 
havoc with the following of Blaine’ 
(Willis J. Abbot, Watching the 
World Go By, 77). 

knock. The Am. use of Jmock in the 
sense of find fault with, run dcmn, is 
described by Webster as vulgar slang. 
It may be found, nevertheless, m 
reputable newspapers, though some- 
times between apologetic quote- 
marks. ‘The persistent “knocking” 
to which the Western Pacific Railroad 
is subjected by the penodical cir- 
culation of false reports.’ ‘Mr. Bryan 
is not exactly knocking at the White 
House door, but he is knocking every- 
body else who wants to knock there.’ 
Hence knocker == censorious person, 
captious critic. ‘ The municipal “ boos- 
ters” that are an organized factor in 
the development of Western cities 
have no use for what they call 
“knockers”, critical citizens who are 
figuratively credited with using a 
“ hammer ‘ “ Booster ” organiza- 

tions were formed to fight the “ knock- 
ers (F. L. Bird and F. M. Ryan, 
The Recall of Public Officers, 238). 
‘Men who in another era would have 
been denounced as knockers and 
defamers were acclaimed as heroes 
and servants of the Republic’ (C. C. 
Regier, The Era of the Muckrakers, 
22 ). 

In Am. knock down may mean em~ 
hezzle {the fares of passengers). ‘Two 
conductors on surface cars were con- 
victed of petit larceny to-day. The 
men were accused of “knocking 
down” fares on their cars.’ ‘Does the 
Springfield street railway lose over 
$100,000 a year in fares “knocked 
down” by conductors? This claim 
was made this week by a conductor 
of that road.’ 

The auction knockout — a combina- 
tion among dealers by which they 
obtain articles at auctions at a low 
price to resell afterward among them- 
selves — ^seems to be peculiarly Eng. 
The knockout blow is known in Eng. 
and Am. alike. In Am, knockout 

drops are drops of some drug put mto 
a man’s drink to stupefy him for 
purposes of robbery. ‘He suffered 
from delusions, principally the con- 
viction that people were puttm^^ 
knock-out drops into his coffee.’ 
‘Bowery thieves were usmg chloral 
or “knockout drops” as an aid in 
robbing victims.’ A man addicted to 
such practices is a knockout man. 
‘He is sometimes dangerous, for he 
may be one of the new sort of “ knock- 
out men” discovered this week.’ 

The verb knock out is also used fig., 
as is knock on the head in Eng. ‘In 
power, the Democrats wouldn’t knock 
out protection if they could, and 
couldn’t if they would.’ 

The derivative knockabout denotes 
a small sailing-boat, esp. used as a 
pleasure craft. ‘Yachts of every size, 
from the great steam palace to the 
little 20-foot knockabouts.’ 

The expression knocked up needs a 
danger signal. In Eng. it means tired 
out, but in Am. enceinte. 

know. The expression knowing to ~ 
aware of is now obs. m Eng. but still 
current m Am. ‘Some of the neigh- 
bors were knowing to the event, and 
called to offer their congratulations.’ 

In spite of the superficial similarity, 
knownothingism is not an Am. variety 
of agnosticism. It is a political term, 
denoting a party which was organized 
about the middle of the last century 
with the object of excluding all 
foreigners and Roman Catholics from 
political rights. It was originally a 
secret organization, and, as its mem- 
bers were required, when asked any- 
thing about it, to answer that they 
did not know, it came to be called 
the know-nothing party. ‘The Dem. 
party was well served by the Know- 
notlung craze which swept the 
country for a very brief period. This 
drove the foreign-born voters, the 
great majority of whom at that time 
were Irish Catholics, into the Dem. 
party because it was opposed to the 
Know-nothings,’ ‘Since the death of 
the Know-nothing party, N.Y. has 




ceased any organized attempt to 
lessen the power of the foreigner* 
(M. W. OviNGTON, Half a Man, 196). 
An alternative name for this orgamza- 
tion was the Am, party, 


landscape. The Am. term land- 
scape architecture covers what is 
denoted m Eng. by landscape garden- 
ing and considerably more. In the 
14th edition of the 'Encycl, Bntann. 
an Am. writer says: ‘In Eng., where 
the term landscape architecture is at 
present little used, the term landscape 
gardening persists, partly because 
much institutional and public work 
included m the practice of Am. land- 
scape architects is done there by 
architects.’ The Am, Year Book 
includes under the heading of Land- 
scape Architecture an account of work 
carried out during the year not only 
on private estates but m the laying 
out of public parks and even m town 
planning. There is an ‘Am. Society 
of Landscape Architects’ whose 
official organ is entitled Landscape 
Architecture, There are also schools of 
Landscape Architecture in connexion 
with several Am. umversities. 

flandslide. The term landslide is 
used in Am. in preference to the Eng. 
landslip, ‘Landslides blocked the 
only exit from our territory.* ‘The 
landslides in the canal channel’ (Dr. 
J. H* Fbederick, The Development 
of Am. Commerce, 321). This word 
is fig. used in politics to denote an 
overwhelming victory at an election. 
The Concise Oxford Diet, is mistaken 
in defining it as an overwhelming 
political defeat. The Presidential 
election of 1982, for instance, was not 
a Rep. but a Dem. landslide. The 
party whose name is attached to the 
word landslide is pictured not as a 
once sohd mass that has now crum- 
bled into ruin, but as an irresistible 
natural force that has swept every- 
thing out of its path, ‘The so-called 
silent vote grows larger and larger 

every year, swaying majorities and 
occasionally precipitating landslides.’ 
‘The result of the campaign was a 
Dem. landslide, in which Jackson 
received 219 electoral votes to 49 for 
Clay’ (Prof. A. E. Martin, Hist, of 
U.S. i. 406). 

large. When we read in an Am. 
paper that a certain Congressman is 
a representative at large, we are not 
to understand that he has a sort of 
roving commission. The term means 
that he has been chosen by a whole 
State, not by a particular distnct 
(constituency) within that State. In 
the decennial reapportionment of 
members of Congress among the 
States according to population, it may 
happen that a State that has pre- 
viously sent five members to Con- 
gress is now allotted six. In such 
cases the State Legislature sometimes 
saves itself the trouble of ‘re-dis- 
tricting’ by deciding that the addi- 
tional member shall be elected by the 
State as a whole. The member thus 
elected is a representative at large. 

The term is sometimes used by Am. 
writers in a similar sense when 
desenbing electoral methods abroad. 
Thus: ‘The members of the Small 
Council [of Zurich] were all delegates 
from the guilds except six couneffinen 
at large and two burgomasters who 
acted ex officio^ (Prof. S. M. Jackson, 
Huldreich Zwingli, 42). 

See also by. 

lark. The Am. meadow lark has 
little resemblance to the Eng. lark, 
but is more like the Eng. jackdaw. Its 
scientific name is sturnella magna, and 
it belongs to the family of Icteridae. 

last. In Am. the end of a week or 
month is often called the last of it. 
This does not necessarily mean the 
last day of it; it may, indeed, include 
more than one day. ‘The store in 
which the committee will hold their 
rummage sale Friday and Saturday 
is beginning to pile up with a hetero- 
geneous collection of articles that 
promises a lively scramble of bargain 




hunters the last of the week.’ ‘They 
go to the binders the last of January.’ 
*The corn will be hard by the last 
of August’ (L. F. Carr, Am. Chal- 
lenged, 194). ‘By the last of May he 
had formulated his plan and on" the 
29th he issued two proclamations’ 
(Prof. A. E. Martin, Hist, of U.S. 
li. 24). See also first, 

latchstring. On both sides of the 
Atlantic the latchstring is nowadays 
an antiquated device, but in Am. the 
word has a fig. use which seems un- 
likely to become obs. ‘If one hears 
that Nicholas Murray Butler is in 
Washington it is a waste of time to 
look for him at any hotel. The latch- 
string hangs out for him always at 
the White House.’ ‘The Citizens’ 
Union has its latchstnng out for 
voters of this class, but that does not 
satisfy all of them.’ Writing in the 
days before any policy of restricted 
immigration was thought of, Lowell 
made Hosea Biglow boast that his 
country’s ‘free latch-stnng never was 
drawed in against the poorest child 
of Adam's km*. 

laurel. The Eng. laurel is any tree 
or shrub of the genus laurus; spec., 
the laurus nobilis. In Am. the word 
may denote an evergreen shrub of 
either kalmia or rhododendron, ‘ “The 
dry-tongued laurel’s paltenng talk” 
does not refer to our mountain laurel 
or kalmia, but to some true laurel or 

Cecil Sharp (acc. to his biog., p. 145) 
found that there was a part of N. 
Carolina known as the Laurel Coun- 
try, so named because of the abim- 
dance of rhododendrons (called laurel 
by the mountain-people) which grow 
on the mountam side. The real laurel 
was called ivy, while the ivy became 

lawn. In Am. lawn party is an 
alternative to garden party, ‘An 
Englishwoman at a lawn party’ 
(Sinclair Lewis, Dodsworth, 85). 

lay. The distinction between lay 
(trans.) and he (mtrans.) is not 

strictly observed in Am. (It was not 
observed by Jane Austen, but to-day 
a confusion between the two words 
is regarded in Eng. as a solecism.) 
‘The women wrapped themselves in 
a bedspread and laid down on the 
track.’ ‘ If the pistol and bottle were 
thrown there after use, they must 
have laid upon the surface of the 
ground and could hardly have escaped 
the early searchers.’ 

Thus, lay off has both (1) the trans. 
sense of discontinue the service of == 
Eng. stand off, and (2) the intrans. 
sense of take a rest, (1) ‘The company 
was laying off some of its hands on 
accomit of some decrease in the sales.’ 
‘Unemployment insurance would help 
the workers wrho are laid off’ (Nob- 
man Thomas, America's Way Out, 
198). (2) ‘The doctor told her th'.t, 
if she did not lay off for several weeks, 
she might find herself without a voice 
to use next season.’ ‘Like other new- 
comers to industry, the Filipino was 
inclined, in the earlier stages of his 
employment, to lay off frequently for 
small cause. He is now as regular 
in his attendance as the Japanese’ 
(B. Lasker, Filipino Immigration, 

Another Am. use of the verb is 
illustrated by the invitation to visitors 
to lay off their outer garments when 
they enter a house. 

There is a corresponding noun lay- 
off, ‘The men who have been on for 
a year or more get a vacation of ten 
days. Those who have been working 
less than a year have to get along 
with only a five-day lay-off.’ ‘The 
company has distnbuted its produc- 
tion through the year so that no 
lay-offs are necessary’ (L. Aj>amic, 
Dynamite, 407). 

The derivative lay-out may denote 
(1) a state of affairs, situation; (2) a 
gambling equipment, (1) ‘This is the 
lay-out. It is Parker, the Jurist and 
Patriot, against Roosevelt, the would- 
be Man-on-Horseback.’ (2) ‘He hurls 
back with scorn the charge that he is 
the angel of a faro lay-out.’ ‘Every 
gambling house ran from two to 




three monte layouts’ (Andy Adams, 
Log of a Cowboy, 260). In the sense 
of plan, arrangement (of ^ound, 
factory, &c.), the word is used in Eng. 
and Am. alike. 

tflayer. The name of layer cake is 
given in Am. to the kind of cake 
whose ingredients are arranged in 
layers. It thus corresponds very 
nearly to what is known in Eng. as 
a jam sandwich, ‘Another good fruit 
layer cake is a banana cake. Take 
two bananas and grate them into the 
whipped white of an egg and a cup of 
sugar. Spread between layers of cake, 
and decorate with slices of banana.’ 
‘She had brought a tart or a triangle 
of layer cake with her school lun- 
cheon’ (K. D. WiGGiN, Rebecca, 78). 

leave, Am. the past partic. left 
sometimes = Eng. left behind, ‘The 
dinner was so good, and we lingered 
over it so long, that we came near 
being left, but galloped to the depot 
just in time to jump on to the last 
car’ (J. H. Choate, quoted in his 
Life by E. S. Martin, i. 346). 

There is an Am. compound noun 
left-over, used in various obvious 
senses. ‘If every one who wished 
could not get into the Inaugural 
Ball, the left-overs did not seem to 
mourn the lack of the spectacle.’ ‘It 
is an excellent way to use up bits 
of cold boiled vegetables — ^left-overs 
that are too small to make a dish 
in themselves’ (M. Elizabeth, War 
Time Recipes, 90). ‘ The dread of this 
Executive power is a curious left-over 
from Colonial days’ (Dr. Lyman 
Abbott, Am. in the Making, 94). In 
the last quotation an Eng. writer 
would have used the word suroivaL 
See also hang and hold. 

ledger is occasionally used in Am. 
in the sense, now obs. in Eng., of 
register. ‘Listed in the county ledgers 
as housewife.’ 

let is commonly used in Am. with 
up in the sense of desist, cease, ‘He 
started a single-handed jSght against 
Boss Tweed, and did not let up imtil 

the famous ring was swept away.’ If 
let up is followed by a preposition, 
that preposition is on, ‘The doctnn- 
aire, when he gets hold of a good 
thmg, never lets up on it. His favor- 
ite idea is produced on all occasions.’ 
‘He never let up on his main hobby 
of planting trees’ (H. J. Coolidge 
and R. H. Lord, Archibald Cary 
Coolidge, 334). 

There is a corresponding noun let-^p, 
‘There will be no change in the policy 
we have steadily pursued, no let-up 
m the effort to secure the honest ob- 
servance of the law’ (Pres. Theodore 
Roosevelt, in a speech). ‘The 
months of Mr. Wilson’s courtship in- 
volved a let-up in his labors of pre- 
vious years in the White House’ 
(D. Lawrence, True Story of Wood- 
row Wilson, 177). 

The Eng. expression let well (done 
appears in Am. as let well enough 
alone, ‘Why not let well enough 
alone, when you can by no possibility 
hope to better conditions at any 
pomt?’ ‘Two paths there were to 
follow, one an easy, let well-enough 
alone passage, the other a laborious, 
experimental climb.’ ‘The moderates 
in the patriot party were willing to 
let well enough alone’ (S. G. Fisher, 
True Hist, of the Am. Revolution, 97). 

letter. ‘While a cadet at West 
Point, Gen. Nolan won his letter in 
baseball.’ The Eng. equivalent to 
won his letter would be won his cap. 
The letter referred to is the initial, 
worn on the jersey, of the team which 
the player or athlete represents. 
Thus, a college president, writing to 
a N.Y. paper, says that ‘so long as 
father and mother, and brothers and 
sisters, are more proud of seeing their 
hero wear an “H”, a “ Y”, or a “P”, 
than a ^.B.K. just so long will our 
students stnve more in athletics than 
in scholarship’. The letters in this 
quotation are the initials of Harvard, 
Yale, and Prmceton respectively. 
See also fraternity. 

levee is used in Am. in two special 
senses ; (1) an embankment to prevent 




the overflow of a river; (2) a district 
in which prostitution is segregated. (1) 
‘The levee problem has become more 
serious as the forests have been cut 
away from the headwaters of the 
Mississippi.’ ‘Lincoln’s hatred of 
slavery was inborn, but its develop- 
nent began when he saw human 
beings being sold at auction on the 
levee at New Orleans’ (W. E. 
CtJBTis, The True Abraham Lincoln, 
814). ‘Sacramento is protected from 
high water in the rivers by levees 
which send the overflow off to flood 
other countries’ (L. Steffens, Auto- 
biog. i. 26). (2) ‘Three levees, one for 
each of the three leading parts of the 
city, are to be sanctioned by the city 
of Chicago.’ ‘If Fate had condemned 
me to start in business on th’ Levee’ 
(Mr. Dooley’s Opinions, 211). ‘After 
the partial breakdown of the old 
levee district many of the persons 
formerly associated with the licensed 
vice resorts intrenched themselves 
in the neighboring cabarets’ (M. A. 
Elliott and F. E. Merrill, Social 
Disorganization, 630, footnote). 

liable. In Eng. a thing is not said 
to be liable to happen urdess the risk 
of its happening is permanent or 
frequent. In Am. there is no such 
restriction in the use of the word. 
‘Boston is liable to be the ultimate 
place for holding the convention.’ 
‘If the lawmakers get back before the 
frosts kill the vegetation, many of 
them are liable to think it a reproach 
to the nation that grass should be 
growing in the streets of the national 
capital.’ In each of these instances 
likely would have been used in Eng. 
See APT. 

lid is used fig. in Am. to denote 
restrictions on the sale of drink or 
on other illegal practices. ‘The “lid” 
went down with a bang in Brooklyn 
yesterday, and some spots in the 
borough were as so many miniature 
Saharas for dryness.’ ‘The war on 
liquor has begun again at this resort. 
The sheriff of the county was here 
last week, and notified the dealers 

that the “lid” must be put on again.’ 

lieutenant. In Am. this rank is 
given in the police force as well as 
in the army. ‘ In addition to the chief 
of police there are a number of other 
uniformed ranks above that of 
patrolman. The commonest are cap- 
tain, lieutenant, and sergeant. . . . 
Each captain is assigned a number of 
lieutenants who perform duties pre- 
scribed by him and succeed to com- 
mand m fixed order when he is off 
duty’ (C. C. Maxey, Outline of 
Municipal Government, 162). 

The Eng, pronunciation of the word 
is lef tenant; the Am. lewtenant or 
lootenant. Thus, when ‘Mr. Dooley’ 
refers to ‘th’ loot at th’ station’, he 
means the lieutenant at the police 

The rank of lietdenant-general is in 
Am. much higher than in Eng., where 
a lieutenant-general comes after a 
field marshal and a general. It carries 
■with It the post of commander-in- 
chief of the army (under the Presi- 
dent). ‘Congress revived the grade 
of lieutenant-general, a position which 
carried with it the supreme com- 
mand of the armies of the U.S., 
and, on March 9, Lincoln conferred 
this commission upon Grant (Prof* 
A. E. Martin, Hist, of U.S. i. 745). 
The rank had previously been held 
by only Washington and Scott. Since 
Grant, it has been conferred upon 
only twelve Am. officers, and to-day 
it is held by no one. See general. 

life. In Eng. lije guards are ‘two 
regiments of cavalry, forming, to- 
gether with the Royal Horse Guards, 
the household cavalry’ (O.E.D.). In 
Am. they are men employed to keep 
bathers from drowning, and otherwise 
to rescue persons in danger along the 
coast. Accordingly, they correspond 
to the Royal Humane Society’s men in 
Eng. They are also sometimes called 
life sneers.* ‘A life guard in the employ 
of the Delavan Bathing Pavilion.’ 
‘The Mayor has instructed the peace 
officers to prevent bathing at this 




season as much as possible. The life 
guards, of course, do not go on duty 
until June; and their functions are, 
in the mean time, performed by the 
police.’ ‘After 14 hours of being 
tossed about in my catboat I was 
taken off by the life guards.’ 

The term life-saving is technically 
applied in Am, to a government 
organization which combines many 
of the functions exercised in Eng. 
by the coastguard and the Royal 
Humane Society. ‘The U.S. has an 
elaborate life-saving service, which 
patrols the coast, warns vessels off 
dangerous shores, and, in case of 
wredc, by life-boats and life-lines 
attempts to save the passengers and 
the cargo’ (Prof. A. B. Habt, Actual 
Government, 449). ‘The plight of the 
sloop had been signalled at the life- 
saving station at Sandy Hook.’ ‘The 
boat had been placed at one of the 
life-saving stations on the New Jersey 
coast’ (Diet. Am. Biog. vi, 582). 

lift. ‘ The tariff was lifted * (T. Beer, 
Life of Hanna, 181). An Eng. reader 
would understand this to mean that 
the tariff was removed. Actually it 
means that the rates of duty imposed 
by the tariff were made higher. 
‘Nobody will be surprised that the 
Ways and Means Committee of the 
House frowns upon the salary- 
raising plan for members of the Legis- 
lature. The people would not stand 
for it. The committee is not so clear 
as to other salary-lifting bills.’ 
‘Credit enlargement is the typical 
method of price lifting by reflation’ 
(Prof. Irving Fisher, Mastering the 
Crisis, 55). 

flight. The Am. expression see the 
light = become converted. ‘He will be 
formally renominated by all save the 
Kings County Democrats. And it is 
altogether likely that they, too, will 
see the light before another week has 
passed.’ ‘Mild reservationists were 
our bane, Frank Brandegee detailed 
me to try to make some of them see 
the light, but it proved a humiliating- 
ly unsuccessful job’ (Alice Roose- 

velt Longworth, Crowded Hours 

likely. The Am. idiom in the use of 
this word, as illustrated in the follow- 
ing examples, differs from the Eng. 
‘There is another factor appearing 
which may likely favor the Demo- 
crats.’ ‘ There is reason why a woman 
of the stage marries an actor. She is 
devoted to her art, and he will prob- 
ably allow her to continue behind the 
footlights. If she married outside the 
“profession”, the husband would 
likely protest.’ The Eng. idiom would 
be ‘ may very likely favour ’ and ‘ would 
very likely protest’, or else ‘which is 
likely to favour’ and ‘would be likely 
to protest’. ‘ If the Negro was driving 
a loaded wagon, he would likely draw 
out to the side and wait for the white 
man to pass’ (W. T. Couch, in Cid- 
ture in the South, 474). 

See also liable. 

lily white is used spec, in Am. 
politics as explained in the following 
quotation. ‘The “lily white” move- 
ment in the Southern Rep. party was 
another indication of the South’s 
opposition to Negro suffrage. The 
term seems to have been coined in 
Texas m 1888, after riots between 
white and Negro Republicans strug- 
gling for the control of a convention. 
It was applied to bodies of white 
Republicans in Southern States de- 
termined to purge their party of Negro 
leadership, Negro control, and a Negro 
share in the spoils of victory’ (P. 
Lewinson, Race, Class, and Party, 
110 ). 

limit is rarely used in Eng. but 
commonly m Am. of a physical boun- 
dary, esp. in the plur. ‘The gathering 
was arranged particularly as a wel- 
come from the people of Wmdsor 
County to the Indiana senator, whose 
father was born within its limits.’ 
‘The damage on the Lackawanna was 
caused by the bursting of a dyke in 
the west city limits.’ ‘At the navy 
yard limit the marme escort was 
withdrawn,’ ‘Most street car lines 




started from the center of the town 
and ran out to some city limit and 
back’ (L. Steffens, Autobiog. 474). 
f Am. the limit = Eng. the last straw. 
‘Making life preservers out of rotten 
cork chips would seem to be bad 
enough, but when it comes to putting 
iron bars in them, just to make them 
weigh up to the proper standard, that 
is the limit.’ Hence the expression to 
the limit. ‘The only possible chance 
the senator has of re-election is to 
become Rooseveltian to the limit.’ 
‘The Jeffersonians used federal powers 
to the limit m purchasing Louisiana’ 
(Dr. C. A. Beard, The Am. Party 
Battle, 5). 

In Am. a limited (express) is a train 
which is restricted to the carrying of 
passengers who pay an extra fare. 
"The St. Paul and Minneapolis 
Limited was wrecked early to-day.’ 
‘The traveller in Iran must love travel 
for itself — ^not the Tvrentieth Century 
Limited variety.’ ‘The day is surely 
commg when a gentleman will no 
longer boast of having bowled along 
our highways at the speed of a limited 

The Eng. Limited (abbrev. Ltd.), as 
the designation of a trading company 
in which the liability of partners or 
shareholders is limited to a certain 
amount, is unknown in Am., where 
the nearest equivalent is Incorporated 
(abbrev. Inc.). 

line. A row of persons waiting their 
turn is in Eng. a queue. In Am. it is 
a line. ‘ People were herded by police- 
men into lines stretching away from 
the marble entrance to the Knicker- 
boeker Trust Co.’ (Mark Sullivan, 
Our Times, iii. 502). ‘The next 
morning there was a line of women, 
six deep, waiting in front of the door’ 
(K. Bercovici, Manhattan Side- 
Show, 271). In times of severe un- 
employment one reads of bread lines 
consisting of queues of persons wait- 
ing for doles of food. ‘At the end of 
a decade of the highest wages in his- 
tory, the average Am. worker is only 
a month or so away from the bread 

line if he loses his job.’ ‘I remember 
talking with him about the “bread 
lines” which regularly formed each 
mght at certain bakenes which gave 
away their stale bread’ (Hamlin 
Garland, Roadside Meetings, 198). 

Hence line up (verb and noun) in 
both lit. and fig. senses. ‘A tall man 
with a look of settled melancholy 
lined up at a place in Park Row.* 
‘The prisoners were brought before 
witnesses — ^not in a line-up with 
others of the same general type, but 
separately’ (A. G. Hays, Let Free- 
dom Ring, 289). ‘The candidates are 
now lined up for the municipal elec- 
tions.’ ‘The telephone industry was 
lined up, with the Bell Co. on one 
side and all other interests consoli- 
dated under the Independent banner 
on the other.’ ‘Thus we have a line- 
up of corporations against the people.* 

The noun line may also be used in the 
sense of boundary. ‘The police threw 
a mounted guard along the county 
line to turn them back.’ ‘An obser- 
vant traveller could always tell when 
he crossed the line from Dutchess 
County into Berkshire’ (P. J. Stim- 
soN, My U.S. 24). ‘Only a few men 
had affairs that took them across 
state lines’ (W. Lippmann, Public 
Opinion, 273). 

Another special Am. use of the word 
is seen in: ‘These dressmakers cannot 
get a line on the styles promoted by 
the swell 5th Avenue dressmakers 
except at the Horse Show, so they 
come here looking for pomts.’ ‘It 
doesn’t take the ofiicials long to “get 
a line” on the damage; then opera- 
tions begin.’ ‘The overwhelming vic- 
tory in Vermont is not conclusive. It 
gives a good line on what N.Y. State 
above the Harlem will do, but it but 
slightly indicates the trend of the urban 
vote,’ Here a line on = an idea of. 

Am. in line for = Eng. in the run- 
ning for. ‘Sen. Gorman’s victory in 
Maryland placed him in line for the 
Dem. nomination for the Presidency.* 
‘My secret ambition had been to 
teach Church History: but there were 
few opportunities; I was not a 




graduate of an Am. seminary and so 
in line for them’ (Dr, F. J. Kinsman, 
Salve Mater, 56). 

Am. tn line with = Eng, in harmony 
with, ‘The step is imusual and the 
amount large, but it is in line with 
the plan of reorgamzation proposed 
by the creditors’ committee.’ ‘The 
terms in which he characterizes sin 
are m general not theological or 
ecclesiastical, nor are they always 
in line with Biblical representations 
of it’ (Prof. L. O. Bbastow, Repre- 
sentative Modem Preachers, 233). 

In the sense of the rails upon which 
trains mn, track or tracks is preferred 
in Am. to line, 

Lo. When Alexander Pope wrote, 
in his Essay m Man, 

‘Lo, the poor Indian! whose im- 
tutored mind 

Sees God in clouds, or hears him in 
the wind’ 

little did he foresee the cunous use to 
which these Imes would be put in Am. 
Some person of a waggish turn of 
mind hit upon the idea of inter- 
preting the exclamation Lo as the 
name of the Indian to whom the poet 
was referring. This notion tickled 
people’s fancy, and the use of the 
word as a synonym for Indian has 
long smce become a commonplace. 
‘The hunting is not very good, and 
the march of civilization has con- 
vinced Lo that fighting is not as 
profitable as it used to be.’ ‘On 
Florida’s shield stands a placid buxom 
Mrs. Lo, with fringed shirt falling to 
the knee,’ ‘You remember the Indian 
and the white man were at a loss to 
know how to divide the turkey and 
the buzzard, but in the end poor Lo 
got the buzzard’ (Andy Adams, The 
Outlet, 844), ‘An Indian inspeetor 
suggested the thumbprint in addition 
to the mark, and all new Indian deeds 
bear this impnnt. The result is that 
Lo is given to understand that no 
amount of false swearing will serve 
to disprove his signature as witnessed 
by the unerring thumbprint’ (F. J. 
Haskin, The Am. Government, 86). 

load. Am. load down =* Eng. load 
wp, ‘The scientists returned to 
Buenos Ayres loaded down with 
specimens of great zoological value.’ 
‘A pack-train of mules loaded down 
with tons of ore’ (G. D. Lyman, Saga 
of the Comstock Lode, 46). 

loaf. A cake peculiar to Am. is the 
haj cake, a plain cake in the form of 
a loaf. ‘Sipping hot tea and tasting 
with evident approval a large piece 
of loaf cake.’ 

floan is in modern Eng. usage a 
noun only, though it was once a verb 
also. In Am. it is still a verb. ‘The 
plan was for the government to 
borrow four million dollars to be 
loaned to the planters.* ‘London re- 
mains the great loaning centre of the 
world.’ ‘Carlyle loaned me Maurice’s 
novel’ (Moncure D. Conway, Auto- 
biog. i. 440). ‘I urged that Congress 
provide $2,500,000 to be loaned to 
Americans in Europe against letters 
of credit’ (W. G. McAdoo, Crowded 
Years, 294). 

lobby. Each House of Congress, 
hke each House of the Bntish Parlia- 
ment, has a lobby. But the implica- 
tions of both lobby and lobbyist are 
widely different at Washington and 
at Westminster, ‘Another force is the 
lobby, by which is meant those men, 
and sometimes women, who make it 
a business to argue with congressmen 
and to solicit their votes. Some of 
these lobbyists are paid attorneys 
of corporations; many of them are 
former members of Congress, who 
understand the inner workings of 
the body’ (Prof, A. B, Habt, Actual 
Government, 247). An Eng. Parlia- 
mentary lobbyist is not a man who 
seeks to influence legislation. He is 
a journalist who haunts the lobby in 
order to talk to members and pick 
up items of political news for his 
paper. At Washington the source of 
such gossip is not the lobby but the 
CLOAK-ROOM (q.v.). The terms lobby 
and lobbyist are used in a similar sense 
in connexion with the State Legis- 




latures. For a full account of the Am, Cutters and Butcher Workmen de- 
lohhy see Biyce’s Am. C(mmmwecdth, clared a second strike.* ‘Each of 
Note (B) to Chapter XVI. these national unions is made up of 

Examples follow of the Am. use of a state organization and of locals* 

(1) lobby, as a noun, (2) lobby, as a (T. C. Pease, The U.S. 540). ‘There 

verb, and (8) lobbyist. (1) ‘Early in is in N.Y. a colored local, the only 

the session it was announced by colored local in the city, among a few 

insurance interests that no lobby of the cai^enters, with regular repre- 

would be maintained and no im- sentation in the Central Federated 

portant insurance legislation would Union’ (M. W. Ovington, Half a 
be asked.* ‘The Am. Bankers Asso- Man, 98). 

ciation had a lobby at Washington The name of local room is given to 
which was one of the potent factors the department of a newspaper office 

in that unacknowledged congregation which deals with local news. ‘No 

of occupational councils which is the doubt too many years spent in news 

fourth estate in federal legislation’ writing may unfit a young man in 

(Prof. N. W. Stephenson, Life of some degree for good critical writing. 

Sen. Aldrich, 363). ‘Committees even But the fact remains that almost the 

of the Am. Bar Association rarely, if only open door to the editorial room 

ever, bring about the legislation they is through the local room* (E. L. 

desire; wfflle a secret lobby will sue- Shxtivian, Practical Journalism, 90). 
ceed in full half the time’ (F. J. 

Stimson, My U.S. 153). (2) ‘A class locate, location. In Eng. locate is 
of well-informed persons who acquire a trans. verb, meaning either discover 

fortunes by lobbying all sorts of the position of or place. In Am. it is also 

claims through Congress.’ ‘It was he, intrans., meaning take up one*s resi^ 

more than anyone else in the U.S., dence, settle. ‘ He has resigned his posi- 
who taught clergymen how to lobby tion as clerk at the Pope Manufacturing 

for peace, prohibition, and the Bible’ Co., and will locate in Trenton.’ ‘He 

(M. R. Werner, Bryan, 254). ‘There says his destiny is to go to Europe 

should be other machinery for fixing and locate along the Mediterranean 

their wages than lobbying before Sea.’ ‘The foreign ambassadors 

legislative bodies and organizing to located there in order to be accessible 

exert political pressure’ (N. Thomas, to the authorities of Zurich and to be 

America’s Way Out, 161). (3) ‘The within easy reach of the Confedera- 

sop which the President has thrown tion as a whole’ (Prof. S. M. Jackson, 

to the pension lobbyists will, instead Huldxeich Zwingli, 41). 

of satisfying them, only whet their In the following passage the trans. 
appetite for more.’ ‘Of unsavory focafe seems to have the unusual sense 

reputation as a lobb3dst in securing ot plan, lay out. ‘He was appointed 

government contracts for his Mends’ principal assistant engineer in the 

(Andy Adams, The Outlet, 827). Pennsylvania state service, in which 

‘Tariff lobbyists were threatening the capacity he located a railroad from 

pohtical annihilation of Wilson if Gettysburg to the Potomac’ (Diet, 

he persisted in driving through the Am. Biog, viii. 400). 

Tariff Bill without regard to the de- The noun Zocarion means in Am, either 
mands of special interests’ (Prof. C. (1) the act of settling or taking up 

Seymour, Intimate Papers of Col. residence, or {2) sittiation, position. (1) 

House, i. 156). ‘Immigrants were warned against 

hasty location, and were admonished 
local is in Am. sometimes a noun, that they would do well to rent land 

meaning a branch of a trade union, for a time, pending a more careful 

‘The advisory board of the N.Y. scrutiny of the country’ (Prof. J. B. 

locals of the Amalgamated Meat Hedges, Henry Villard, 131). (2) ‘A 






report containing the name of the 
corporation, the location of its princi- 
pal office, and the date of its last 
annual meeting.’ ‘Its location at the 
junction of important railroads had 
made it one of the great trading 
sections of the Southwest’ (B. J. 
Hendrick, Earlier Life of Walter H. 
Page, 130). 

loft is commonly used in Am. in the 
sense, now obs. in Eng., of a vohole 
upper floor or story, ‘They erected in 
the lower part of the avenue tall loft 
buildings to attract the wholesale 
garment-making trade’ ; i.e. buildings 
whose top floors are used as garment- 
makers’ workrooms. 

flog-roUing. ‘In olden times pioneers 
on the frontier helped one another 
to cut trees and roll up logs for their 
cabins. This process was known as 
“log-rolling”’ (Dr. C. A. Beard, Am. 
Government and Politics, 258), Hence 
the fig. use of log-rolhng in the vocab. of 
Am. politics. ‘General appropriations, 
like the nver-and-harbor and public- 
building bills, are much affected 
by log-rolling — ^that is, a number 
of members agree each to vote for 
the item desired by the other’ (Prof. 
A. B. Hart, Actual Government, 
246). ‘The process, with which we 
have since become so familiar, of 
“log-rolling”, that is of each con- 
gressman voting for a duty not wanted 
in his district if a vote could thereby 
be obtained for a duty that was 
wanted, began within the very first 
week of the national government’ 
(J. Truslow Adams, Hist, of the 
Am. People to the Civil War, 173). 
The term has been adopted in Eng., 
in relation not so much to politics 
— where the opportunities for such 
mutual assistance are few — as to 
literary criticism. 

long. In the vocab. of the Am, 
telephone system, long distance takes 
the place of the Eng. trunK ‘ We have 
replaced billets doux with long-dis- 
tance telephone calls.’ ‘By ten o’clock 
the Mayor had attended to his mail 

and made several long-distance calls.’ 
‘There were frequent conversations 
over the long distance telephone’ 
(D. Lawrence, True Story of Wood- 
row Wilson, 69). ‘He always made 
it a point to call his wife by long 
distance if he was too far away to 
come home for the week-ends’ (M. A. 
Elliott and F. E. Merrill, Social 
Disorganization, 487), 

look. The expression look to or look 
toward is common m Am. with the 
meaning of tend toward^ point in the 
direction of, aim at. ‘Suggestions 
looking to a remedy for this apparent 
mjustice.’ ‘A scheme looidng to 
ameliorated conditions as to land,’ 
‘The movement looking toward eman- 
cipation was growing weaker’ (Prof, 
A. E. Martin, Hist, of U.S. i. 439), 
‘These measures looked to the ex- 
pansion of the intellectual resources 
of the college’ (H, James, Lafe of 
C, W. Eliot, li. 11), 

In Am. look to he is often used where 
an Eng. writer would say seem to he, 
or look (without he), or look like. 
‘The men are a hard-bitten lot, and 
look to be perfectly able to take care 
of themselves.’ ‘ It looked to be about 
eight feet tall’ (K. D. Wiggin, Re- 
becca, 133). ‘England looks to be 
the huge well-cared-for farm of a 
Croesus’ (Price Collier, England 
and the English, 315). 

lose, as an intrans, verb, is often 
intensified in Am. by the addition 
of the adv. out, ‘News comes that 
he may lose out in his race for 
renomination.’ ‘More and more the 
individual lost out in the confiict 
with organization’ (Prof, A, H. 
Quinn, The Soul of Am. 104). ‘The 
happy fact is that the tough-minded 
of the world are losing out, disappear- 
ing m the course of evolution’ (Mar- 
garet Wilson, The Crime of Pimish- 
ment, 142). 

lot. When the biographer of Harriet 
Beecher Stowe tel£ us that one of 
her ancestors received from the 
founders of Massachusetts the gift of 
a lot of land, most Eng. readers will 


understand this to mean a good deal 
of land. Actually the Am. writer 
means only what would be called in 
Eng. a plot of ground, ‘The horse 
ran into an open lot at Kent Avenue.’ 
‘A deed for a house and lot.’ ‘Here 
Abraham rendered the last service of 
his minonty by ploughing the 13-acre 
lot.’ ‘The lot on which the old 
Chicago Avenue Church had stood for 
more than 50 years’ (W. R. Moody, 
Life of D. L. Moody, 130). Thus Am. 
corner lot — Eng. corner site, Acc. to 
Leon Mead (Word Coinage, 128) the 
Boston Town Records of 1636 show 
that the word, in this sense, is an 
abbrev. of allotment, 

louder. In Eng. cries of Speak up! 
indicate to a public speaker that he 
is imperfectly heard. In Am. the 
usual cry is Louder f ‘He had hardly 
begun when cries of “Louder!” w^ere 
heard from far recesses of the hall,’ 
‘He was apparently in poor voice 
last night, Ms address being inter- 
rupted by cries of “Louder!” and 
the scuffle of the feet of those that 
left the room.’ ‘Even his fBiy^an’s] 
golden voice was to desert him, and 
the day was to come w^hen he again 
stood before a national convention 
and heard cries of ‘‘Louder! We 
can’t hear you!” come mockingly 
down from the galleries where once 
there had been deathlike silence’ 
(H. F. Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt, 

lovely. In Am. this word, w'hen 
applied to persons, is sometimes al- 
most eqmvalent to lovable. It denotes 
the possession of attractive qualities, 
among which beauty may not neces- 
sarily be included and it may be 
applied to men as well as women. In 
a letter written by Matthew Arnold 
while visiting Boston in 1883, he says : 
‘I am staying with Mrs. Fields here 
— 3 . lovely woman, as they say here — 
which means not a sweetly beautiful 
woman, but what we call a “very nice” 

low is sometimes used in Am. as 

a noun, in the sense of law level or 
law figure. ‘What the fate of psycho- 
logy will be now that it has hit its 
new low is as difficult to predict as 
the level to wluch United Aircraft 
will some day rise.’ ‘In 1906 the 
finances of the Longworths, though 
they were on the w av, had not reached 
their present “low”’ (.\lice Roose- 
velt Longworth, Crowded Hours, 
133). Cf. HIGH. 

The Am, compound noun low-down 
denotes an opinion based on facts 
often of an uncomplimentary nature, 
not possessed by the general public. 
‘After all, what was the use of getting 
opinions out of newspapers when he 
had so many friends willing to give 
him the absolute low'-down on public 
opinion?* ‘As a stranger, you could 
drop into the tobacco store for a 
cigar, and get the low'-down on half 
the lawyers in town in 20 minutes.’ 
tfThe lowbrow is the opposite of the 
HIGHBROW (q.v.). ‘An honest man 
and an “intellectual” uses his dis- 
honest bram to cover or to discover 
his honest thinking, w’hich is, really, 
very like a lowbrow’s’ (L. Steffens, 
Autobiog. 581). 

luggage. While Am. baggage «= 
Eng. luggage, the latter word is not 
unknown in Am. It is used there, 
however, in a sense that differs from 
its meaning in Eng. In Eng. lu^age 
is a collective term for the trunks, 
bags, &c., that a traveller takes writh 
him. These trunks are not considered 
luggage until they are packed for the 
Journey. In Am., on the other hand, 
it is only as long as they are empty 
that they are called luggage. Thus we 
may read in a newspaper advt. that 
‘a gift of hand luggage is a substantial 
evidence of one’s esteem for the 
recipient’. The specific items sug- 
gested to prospective purchasers are 
women’s overnight cases, men’s 
travelling bags, and brief cases. A 
Boston firm which sells travelling 
bags and similar articles has taken 
the name of the Boston Luggage Co. 
A newspaper records a protest made 




by ‘the luggage industries’, including 
the National Luggage and Leather 
Goods Manufacturers’ Association, 
against the sale of ‘prison-made 

lumber is little used in Eng. exc. 
to denote discarded articles of furni- 
turct &c., such as are stowed away in 
a lumber-room* In Am. it is the com- 
mon word for timber, esp. when sawn 
for use. Hence lumberman = an 
owner of timber land, or one engaged 
m producing lumber, and lumberjack 
s= one of his employees. ‘If a lumber- 
man who owns 1,000 acres of timber 
land considers only his own interests, 
he will probably cut down the trees 
and turn them into lumber as fast as 
the ax and saw will do it.’ ‘ He said he 
had no boats with which to cross the 
Delaware, when the lumber to make 
boats and rafts was lying in piles 
before his eyes’ (S. G. Fisher, True 
Hist, of the Am. Revolution, 320). 
‘Each of the principal lumber pro- 
ducing regions in the U.S. is charac- 
terized by the type of timber grown’ 
(T. C. Blaisdell, The Federal Trade 
Commission, 148). ‘The lumbermen 
who have grown rich by taking dis- 
honest advantage of the land laws.’ 
‘Ordinarily he was not very profane, 
for a lumber-jack.’ 

lunch^ luncheon. Am. lunch or 
luncheon often = Eng. snack. In Eng. a 
lunch is always a mid-day meal. In 
Am. it may be a light repast taken at 
any time m the 24 hours. ‘ The first of 
what is expected to become regular 
monthly informal socials was held 
Friday evening. A light luncheon 
was served.’ ‘Quite as often she was 
unable to return to Norumbega till 
ten or eleven at night. Then she took 
a light lunch’ (Prof. G. H. Palmer, 
Life of Alice Freeman Palmer, 152). 
*‘Most of the operators brought their 
midnight lunches with them’ (Dr. 
F. T. Miller, Thomas A. Edison, 
98). ‘Those who do light work in 
town or city should eat only one 
“square” meal a day. The other two 
should be lunches’ (Dr. R. L. 

ALSii^R, Eating for Health and 
Efficiency, 340). See also dutch. 

In Am. the corresponding verb is 
similarly exempt from any time limit. 
‘Those who lunch between meals are 
giving way to a bad habit’ (Dr. R, L. 
Alsaher, op. cit. 339). 

lyceum denotes in Am. not a place 
or a building but a lecture system, 
once extremely popular but nowadays 
superseded by the Chautauqua move- 
ment. ‘It was the time of the 
Lyceum, an institution of extra- 
ordinary populanty, through which 
the best minds displayed themselves 
on the lecture platform to the delight 
and profit of insatiable audiences’ 
(Diet. Am. Biog. ix. 172). ‘The 
shallow, sensational “lyceum lec- 
tures” were the rage immediately 
after the Civil War’ (Julia B. For- 
AHER, I Would Live it Again, 59). 
‘From 1850 to 1870 Emerson went 
into the West in person as a lyceum- 
lecturer’ (V. F. Calverton, The 
Liberation of Am, Literature, 251). 


tmachine, in the vocab. of Am. 
politics, is the common terra for a 
party organization. ‘Philadelphia was 
the liveliest centre of election day 
activity, the reformers making strenu- 
ous efforts to win a crushing victory 
over the machine.’ ‘Lord Randolph 
Churchill conceived the bold plan 
of getting control of the popular or- 
ganization of the party, known as the 
National Union of Conservative As- 
sociations. The attempt of a politi- 
cian to capture the machine was a 
surprise m Eng.’ ‘Roosevelt had 
wrestled publicly and successfully 
with the machine element in every 
State in the Union where the machine 
had tried to impose upon him for 
Federal appointment candidates 
whom Roosevelt regarded as im- 
worthy men’ (W. A. White, Masks 
in a Pageant, 309). ‘His methods and 
purposes were quite different from 




those of the party boss, for he never 
worked through a “machine”’ (Prof. 
C. Seymour, Intimate Papers of Col. 
House, i. 5). See also organize. 

mad. The proverb that anger is 
temporary madness was e\idently en- 
dorsed by our fathers, for — ^as many 
quotations in the 0,E,D, show — they 
used mad as a synonym for angry. 
In this sense it has almost become 
an Americanism, for its Eng. use is 
nowadays colloq. only. ‘The book 
is sure to be mercilessly criticized by 
the votaries of war. It will make 
many of them thoroughly mad.’ 
‘Some people are mad with him for 
what they think he is going to say 
when he gets ready to speak.’ ‘The 
following day I found him in bed, 
hopping mad. “ I have got a cold ”, he 
said’ (T. B. Mott, Life of Myron T. 
Herrick, 370). ‘Those financial lead- 
ers of Chicago were “mad”. All but 
one became so enraged as they talked 
that they could not behave decently’ 
(L. Steffens, The Shame of the 
Cities, 209). ‘Only about once in four 
years do I get mad enough to wnte 
a political article’ (Letters and 
Memorials of W. P. Garrison, 41). 
Here mad = worked up. 

maid of hono(u)r. In Eng. a lady 
in attendance on the Queen when she 
appears in public. In Am., the princi- 
pal bridesmaid at a wedding. ‘The 
maid of honor wore white point 
d’esprit over white silk and carried 
yellow roses’ (From a newspaper 
report of a wedding). ‘Miss Lyons 
was maid of honor at Flavia’s wed- 
ding’ (L. N. Wright, limbs of an 
Old Family Tree, 160). 

mail. In Eng. mail trains carry 
mail-bags^ full of maife, which are 
brought to the railway from the Post 
Office in maiUvans. Otherwise, in 
striking contrast with Am., the word 
mail, whether noun or verb, is little 

» MaU-bafft however, is in Eng only an 
aiinntivo F V Trcfli«i hp«» 

omitic tio'i-'wT 1* )oksTo«.i-K>gDjvfT-.'oH' 
Vn,\m woiilrl have t.uicJ ii 

l)i\cr I Ill's’. 

used in Eng. An Am. does not post 
a letter, but mails it. He does not 
inquire at the hotel desk whether 
there are any letters for him, but 
whether there is any mail for him. 
He does not ask his "mfe at breakfast 
if the post has come, but if the 
mail has come. ‘A hastily scribbled 
note, mailed w-ithout any idea that 
it would be presented.’ ‘His desk 
was covered to the depth of several 
inches with unopened mail.’ (In 
Eng. this would be ‘ unopened 
letters’.) ‘They say that ail of the 
details of service cannot be given by 
mail, but that a representative of the 
concern will call.’ ‘ Eliot answered his 
mail with iiis owm hand’ (H. James, 
Life of C. W. Eliot, i. 304). 

Hence (1) mail car, (2) mail mailer, 
(3) mailman, and (4) mail-box. (1) 
‘The locomotive and tender and bag- 
gage and mail cars w'cre thrown from 
the tracks.’ (2) ‘All mail matter for 
the secretary of the convention 
should be addressed to etc.’ (3) ‘ There 
was no telephone and no mail man.’ 
‘One day the mailman brought me a 
card from Charlie’ (K. Bercovici, 
Manhattan Side-Show*, 223). (4) 

‘Thousands of requests for more 
margin found their w’ay into specula- 
tors’ mail-boxes’ (F. L. Allen, Only 
Yesterday, 308). 

major. A student in an Am. college 
is said to major in the subject or 
subjects to which he gives most of his 
attention. ‘At Christian College at 
Santa Rosa he majored in modem 
literature and Chn&tian sociology’ 
(Dr. C. C. Regier, The Era of the 
Muckrakers, 151). 

majority. At an Eng. election, 
where more than two candidates are 
standing, the candidate who heads 
the poU is said to have a majority of 
so many votes over the second man. 
In Am. this excess of votes would be 
called a plurality. The word majofiiy 
is reserved for an excess of votes over 
the total of votes given to all the 
other candidates; Le. what in Eng. 
would be called an absolute majority 




or a clear majority. *We were hasty 
in assuming that Vardaman had 
received a majority of the votes. It 
was only a plurality, and the com- 
bined vote of his two competitors was 
19,000 more than his own.’ ‘The 
Rep. electors [for the Presidency in 
1860] did not receive a majority by 
nearly a million votes, but the divi- 
sion of the Democrats left them a 
plurality’ (W. E. Curtis, The True 
Abraham Lincoln, 161). ‘When the 
vote was taken Jackson had the most 
electoral votes, but not a majority, 
so the decision had to be made by 
the House of Representatives’ (E. D. 
Adams and J. C. Almack, Hist, of 
U.S. 868). 

make is often used in Am., as dial, 
in Scotland, in the sense of reach, 
attain to; a meaning which is rare in 
Eng., exc. in such expressions as 
mcSce port. ‘She had gone on to the 
Grand Central Station in order to be 
in time for the 7.30 train. I had just 
time to make it, with a mmute or two 
to spare.’ ‘Field Coach Dickson said 
to the candidates that every man had 
a chance to make the eleven, as the 
veterans would have to prove their 
right to stay on the team.’ ‘Two of 
the girls are good swimmers, and they 
made shore in good shape.’ ‘Running 
s\dftly alongside the moving train, 
she made the door easily’ (G. Ather- 
ton, The Travelling Thirds, 19), 
‘ Roosevelt was a conscientious worker 
who made Phi Beta Kappa in his 
senior year’ (H. F. Pringle, Theo- 
dore Roosevelt, 87). 

An Eng. speaker makes a speech, but 
gives or delivers an address. An Am. 
makes an address, as well as a speech. 
‘As at present arranged, the president 
of the Rapid Transit Commission wiU 
make the address.’ ‘Aldrich dined 
with the Merchants’ Association and 
made an address’ (Prof. N. W. 
Stephenson, Life of N. W. Aldrich, 

Mdke o^«f has in Eng. a trans. 
meaning only. In Am. it is also in- 
trans., in the sense of make shift, get 

along, get on, manage. ‘They started 
to walk, but they were met later by 
Judge Margary with two horses, and 
so they made out, walking and ndmg 
alternately, to get safely to town.’ 
‘Given the environment and the local 
traditions, the Argentme munici- 
palities make out very well.’ ‘With- 
out my wife’s inspiration and help, I 
could not have made out at all* 
(W. G. McAdoo, Crowded Years, 55). 
‘Supposing we could take some man 
of modem times and put him among 
those cave-men, how do you suppose 
that he would make out?’ (U. Sin- 
clair, Industrial Republic, 54). 

manager. The leader of a party in 
an Am. legislature is sometimes called 
its manager. ‘He soon shewed his 
genius as a leader in the House, be- 
coming a brilliant debater and for a 
time the Dem. manager’ (Prof. W, P. 
Trent, Southern Writers, 86). 

In some Am. municipalities, the 
coimcil or commission which is 
responsible for the local government 
discharges its executive functions 
through a mty manager appointed by 
it and holding office at its pleasure. 
He has authority to appoint and 
remove all heads of departments and 
their subordinates. The adoption of 
this plan does not involve the dis- 
appearance of the mayor, who usually 
remains as president of the council 
but is shorn of many of the powers he 
ordinarily exercises in an Am. muni- 

mandatory. This term is little used 
in Eng. but is commonly employed in 
Am. where compulsory or ohligatory 
would be used in Eng. ‘Now that 
a court has held a hotel porter’s tips 
are in themselves sufficient compensa- 
tion, does it become mandatory upon 
the public to tip?’ ‘A decent regard 
for the feelings of his immeffiate 
friends should have been mandatory 
in compelling respect for the deceased 
statesman’s memory,’ ‘The com- 
mission was not given mandatory 
powers, but had to depend upon 
publicity and the aid of public opinion 




for the acceptance of its decrees’ 
(L. M. Hacker and B. B. Kendrick, 
The U.S. since 1865, 424). ‘It is made 
mandatory that a child be examined 
by a physician as to physical fitness 
before becoming employed’ (Prof. 
C. W. Pipkin, in Culture in the South, 
655). ‘At Dublin, the oath of allegi- 
ance to King George, mandatory on 
members of the Free State Dail and 
Senate, was removed by the Dail’ 
(N.y. World Almanac for 1934, 102). 

mark. The Am. colloq. term easy 
mark denotes a gullible person. 
‘Castle told him that, while he didn’t 
doubt his honesty, he was afiraid he 
was too easy a mark to succeed in 
Wall Street’ (G. H. Lorjmer, Old 
Gorgon Graham, 288). ‘The kindly 
gentleman of Yan Homesville is no 
easy mark. He is in fact a little 
terrifymg to simple minds’ (Ida M. 
Tarbell, Owen D. Young, 308). 

marker. In Eng., not applied to 
inanimate objects exc. in such com- 
pounds as book-marker and bridge- 
marker. In Am., a tablet or other 
permanent memorial. ‘ The taA>le [used 
by the Russian and Japanese pleni- 
potentiaries at the Portsmouth Con- 
ference], which will be used by the 
history department at Dartmouth 
College, contams a large marker, 
suitably inscribed.’ ‘The committee 
appointed to investigate the matter 
of a marker for the Washington 
elm reported in favor of a granite 
marker, six feet long, two feet 
thick and six feet high, three feet 
to be above the ground and three 
feet below; the stone to be Quincy 
granite, with a polished face for a 
suitable inscription’ (The Washington 
elm was a tree at Cambridge, Mass., 
under which George Washington took 
command of the Am. army). ‘When 
the first woman President of the U.S. 
is elected, the marker for her birth- 
place will more likely be in a ward in 
a hospital than in a log cabin, tene- 
ment apartment or single dwelling’ 
(Norman Thomas, America’s Way 
Out, 173). 

market. In Am. market sometimes 
denotes the shop of an individual 
trader in provisions. ‘A pair of 
gunmen relieved Mitchell Jasinskie, 
proprietor of Mitchell’s market at 202 
School Street, of $150. A short time 
before the pair held up Frank 
Poltenson in his meat market at 221 
Birnie Avenue and rifled the cash 
register of $4.’ ‘With this much 
capital he opened a meat market’ 
(Diet. Am. Biog. viii, 204). 

To play the market is an Am. phrase 
meaning to speculate on the Stock 
Exchange. ‘The man who earns only 
a pittance in college may become a 
stockbroker; a pleasant manner and 
reasonable intelligence in plajring the 
market may make him a millionaire* 
(E. Huntington and L. F. Whitney, 
The Builders of Am. 215). ‘The re- 
ports are originated by persons who 
are interested in playing the stock 
market, hoping that the rumor will 
gain currency and that certain stocks 
will be affected before the truth can 
be determined’ (D. Lawrence, True 
Story of Woodrow Wilson, 131). 

marshal is in Eng. the title of 
various officials — ^legal, academic, and 
so on — ^whose duties nowadays are 
mainly formal or ceremonial. The 
duties of an Am. marshal are much 
more arduous. ‘For the execution of 
its powers each Federal court has 
attached to it an officer called the 
U.S. marshal, corresponding to the 
sheriff in the State governments, 
whose duty it is to carry out its 
writs, judgments, and orders by 
arresting prisoners, levying execution, 
putting persons in possession, and so 
forth. He is entitled, if resisted, to 
call on all good citizens for help; if 
they will not or cannot render it, he 
must refer to Washington and obtain 
the aid of Federal troops’ (Lord 
Bryce, The Am. Commonwealth, 
c. 22). There is also a iomi marshal^ 
who similarly exercises the functions 
of a police officer. ‘The marshal with 
some 15 men rushed into the head- 
quarters of the National Textile 




Workers and began searching the 
rooms.’ ‘A fight between a band of 
outlaws and a number of deputy 
marshals,’ ‘Every other shanty on 
the main street either a saloon or a 
dance-house, and the town marshal 
easily the hardest worked man in the 
camp.’ ‘In Weeks v. XJ*S, it appeared 
that the defendant’s house had been 
entered without any warrant or legal 
authority by a U.S. marshal, and 
property and papers taken therefrom’ 
(Prof. C. K. Burdick, Law of the 
Am, Constitution, 393). See also fire. 

masher. In Eng. this is one of 
many words — heau, macaroni^ fop, 
swell, dandy, &c. — ^that have been 
used at one time or another to denote 
a man of affected style and over- 
fashionable dress. In Am. it carries 
with it an evil implication, denoting 
a man who obtrudes unwelcome at- 
tentions on women. ‘Mashers have 
become such a nuisance in State 
Street, Chicago, that all the dry goods 
stores have entered into an alliance 
to prosecute and drive them off the 
street. “Men will not be allowed to 
stand in front of stores and stare at 
women shoppers”, said Chief of 
Police O’Neill.’ ‘Although from time 
to time the methods of the Brooklyn 
Bridge masher vary, nevertheless his 
supreme aim at all times is to startle, 
annoy, frighten and attract the atten- 
tion of women.’ 

mat. In addition to its other mean- 
ings, mat may denote in Am, a piece 
of cardboard used as the backing for 
a picture. It thus = Eng. mount. 

matter. This word is much used 
in Am. m the interrogatory formula, 
WhM^ Bike matter wUh. . . .9 ‘What’s 
the matter with the mayor’s appomt- 
ing a committee?’ (Why doesn’t the 
mayor appoint a committee?) ‘Ha- 
waii’s turn comes next; and what’s 
the matter with Alaska?’ (Why not 
Alaska?) ‘The members appealed to 
Senator Fitzgerald, and he said to 
them; “What’s the matter with 
$10,000? You can get it as easy as 

$8,000, and the State has plenty of 
money’ (Why not ask for $10,000?) 
‘ Suppose the iron supply is exhausted ; 
what is the matter with buildmg out 
of brick, stone and cement? ’ (Why 
not build?) 

The same question, with the addi- 
tion of the name of the hero of the 
moment and followed by the response 
‘He’s all right’ affords a means by 
which excited crowds work off their 
enthusiasm. ‘Then Taft laughed and 
the applause increased. “ What is the 
matter with Bill? ” cried some one in 
stentorian tones. “He’s all right.” 
“Who’s all right? ” “Bill’s all right.” 
It took music by the orchestra and 
a song by the guests to restore a 
semblance of quiet’ (Report of Mr. 
Taft’s appearance at a political 
meeting). ‘The multitude of people 
pouring out of the gates divided to 
let the Chicagoans pass and cheered 
them with shouts of “What’s the 
matter with Chicago? She’s all 

maybe. In Eng. maybe has almost 
become an archaism and a dial, word, 
having been supplanted by perhaps. In 
Am. it is still in everyday use. Indeed, 
acc. to Dr. Krapp it is more familiar 
and coUoq. in tone than perhaps. 
‘Maybe you can find to-day in the 
“Little Ads of the People” what you 
have been looking months for.’ ‘He 
had been pondenng the matter for 
weeks — ^maybe had read some thun- 
dering editorials on the subject in 
the California press’ (B. Lasker, 
Filipino Jdigration, 361). ‘For that 
reason, maybe, they are not made as 
frequently as they formerly were’ 
(M. M. Mathews, Beginnings of Am. 
English, 130). ‘Mr. Archbold an- 
nounced that Mr. Rockefeller’s health 
was not ^ood and that maybe if 
Hadley paid him a visit he would 
answer his questions’ (J. T. Flynn, 
God’s Gold, 413). ‘And I don’t mean 
maybe’ is a very common phrase in 
Am. talkies — ^usually a threat. 

mayflower. In Eng. this name is 
given locally to various flowers that 




bloom in May. In Am. it denotes 
esp. the trailing arhutus, or Eptgaea 

mayor. ‘The foregoing description 
of the Eng. mayor will have been very 
insufficient if it has failed to show 
how entirely different an official he 
is from the Am. mayor. Exc. as 
regards what we may call the “dig- 
nity business”, the two officials are 
not even analogous. When essentials 
are considered, the Am. functionary 
who corresponds to the Eng. mayor 
is the president or chairman of the 
common council’ (Dr. Albert Shaw, 
Municipal Government in Great 
Britam, c. 3). Among the differences 
are that the Am. mayor is no part 
of the council but an independent 
and co-ordinate authonty, elected 
directly by the people; that he has 
a veto upon orbinances (q.v.) 
adopted by the coimcil; and that he 
makes appointments to various muni- 
cipal offices. 

mean. The adj. mean has a wider 
range m Am. than in Eng. A man 
who is out of sorts or ‘seedy’ because 
he has a bad cold will tell you that he 
is ‘feelmg rather mean to-mght’. If 
he has sprained his ankle, he may 
describe it as ‘a mean accident’; that 
is to say, it is not terribly serious, 
but uncomfortable and inconvenient 
enough to be a great nuisance. ‘ These 
wreaths were rather mean to make’; 
i.e. making them was a troublesome 
job. Impure or adulterated whiskey 
IS ‘mean whiskey’. ‘New Yorkers, 
who have become accustomed to all 
sorts of weather, found that of yester- 
day meaner than any they have ex- 
perienced for years, for when the 
ramstorm came along early in the day 
the wind sent the ram in sheets into 
the faces of pedestrians, and, within 
a short time, the mercury began to 
drop until it seemed as if the zero 
mark would be reached before night- 
fall.’ ‘Threshing clover was one of 
the meanest jobs I remember, for 
while it was going on the air was so 
filled with dust that you couldn’t see 

three feet beyond your nose’ (Dr. 
W. W, Folwell, Autobiog. 26). 

measure. In Am. measure up to is 
used in a sense which will be self- 
evident from the following examples. 
‘There was a sneaking suspicion that 
the boys would never quite measure 
up to the high standards set by their 
father.’ ‘Colleges seek students who 
measure up to the new and exacting 
reqmrements.’ ‘He appears ready to 
criticize everything that does not 
measure up to the promises of the 
president.’ ‘Stanford ever had m 
mind the problem of selectinjg some 
one who measured up to his ideal as 
president of his university’ (G. T. 
Clark, Leland Stanford, 405). 

The expression measure up with is 
less frequent. ‘The essay measures 
up well with the articles on the same 
subject which abound in the reform 
journals of the time’ (V. Loggins, 
The Negro Author, 70). 

The derivative measurably is often 
used in Am. m the sense of to some 
extent. ‘On the emotional and affec- 
tional and measurably on the practi- 
cal side of his nature he was allied 
with the so-called Evangelical branch 
of the church’ (Prof. L. O. Brastow, 
Representative Modern Preachers, 
59). ‘The first necessity of the new 
government was to provide revenues, 
and this was measurably accom- 
plished by the passage of the first 
tariff act’ (Dr. J. M, Beck, The 
Wonderland of Bureaucracy, 10). 
‘Accentuated by Wilson’s admini- 
stration in handlmg of matters in the 
Great War, and only measurably re- 
lieved by his Federal Reserve Act’ 
(F. J. Stimson, My U.S. 74). 

meat. A use of this word found 
only in Am. and in certain Eng. dial, 
is illustrated in the following quota- 
tions. ‘A friend who had learned the 
tinsmith trade and had done a little 
canning of lobster meat’ (Diet. Am. 
Biog. ix. 366). ‘The ptomaine poison- 
ing came, it was said, from eating 
crab meat on the presidential boat’ 
(F. D. Allen, Only Yesterday, 135). 




‘Instead of turkey meat, Agnes and 
the children had boiled beef and 
potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner’ 
(L. Adamic, Laughing in the Jungle, 
277). In Eng. the addition of the 
word meat to lobster , crab, and turkey 
would have been thought unnecessary. 
Cecil Sharp, in a letter to his wife from 
the Appalachians (quoted in his biog., 
p. 150) says the only meat the people 
there ever eat is pig, ‘or hog-meat as 
they call it’. 

^medicine is used fig. in Am. to 
denote anything disagreeable, esp. 
when it is the natural consequence of 
folly or error. ‘Occasionally, when a 
Jackie learns that his ship is about 
to sail for a foreign port, and he does 
not want to go, he gets ashore on 
pass, stays there until his boat sails, 
and then gives himself up to the 
nearest receiving ship, and takes his 
medicine.’ ‘Even if he could summon 
up courage enough to declare himself 
itively about anything, he has let 
opportimities slip by imutilked. 
AU he can do now is to swallow his 
medicine as gracefully as he can or 
else manfully resign.’ ‘Having suf- 
fered the autocratic rule of Czar Reed 
in the preceding Congress, the Demo- 
crats now that they were in the 
majority proposed to give the Re- 
publicans some of their own medicine.’ 

meeting. In Am. meeting often 
denotes spec, a gathering for religious 
worship. In Eng. it is so used oiSy in 
such compounds as prayer-meeting, 
class-meetings Otherwise Church or 
sermce would be used. ‘They set out 
together for evening meeting in the 
summer twilight.’ ‘ A voice whose roll 
and cadence told that he had led in 
family prayers these many years, if 
not in meeting’ (G. Atheeton, The 
Travelling Thirds, 8). ‘ The next day is 
Sunday, and there is mild excitement 
in Coniston. For Jethro Bass ap- 
peared at meeting!’ (W. CnuECHiLn, 
Coniston, 15). 

To speafe in meeting does not neces- 
sarily imply vocal utterance, whether 
at a religious service or elsewhere. 

The term may be applied to the 
expression of one’s individual views 
through any medium. In a letter 
(printed in Letters and Memorials of 
W. P. Garrison, 17) declining an 
invitation to contribute to a maga- 
zme, Mr. Garrison says; ‘I desire to 
avoid the appearance of speaking 
m meeting too often, especially as I 
generally speak in criticism, if at all.’ 
The idea becomes more emphatic in 
the expression speak right out in 

fmelon has a fig. use in Am. in the 
sense of profits for distribution, ‘A 
purse of $25,000 will be distributed 
by the Interborough Company among 
employees. About 8,000 men will 
participate in the cutting of the melon 
the next time the pay-car goes round.’ 
‘If the executives cut enough melons, 
what else do the stockholders care?’ 
(Noeman Thomas, America’s Way 
Out, 29). ‘An industry would have 
to pay, but the money made could 
not be wasted in dividends, melons, 
and big salaries’ (L. Steffens, 
Autobiog. 869). ‘Behind these formal 
charges lay a county fight between 
various supervisors in the matter of 
slicing the road-fund melon’ (F. L. 
Bied and F. M. Ryan, Recall of 
Public Officers, 300). 

melt is sometimes followed in Am, 
by up where down would be used in 
Eng. ‘Fifty thousand cars have been 
melted up since the April before last’ 
(E. Wilson, The Am. Jitters, 47). 

merchant is now usually restricted 
in Eng. to a wholesale trader, esp. with 
foreign countries, and, with a few 
exceptions, such as coal merchant and 
mine merchant, is never appUed to 
a retail shopkeeper. In Ain., as in 
Scottish dial., it retains its earlier 
sense of a dealer in merchandise, 
whether on a large or a smaU scale. 
‘In my village the merchants habitu- 
ally dose their shops every Wednes- 
day at one.’ ‘The growth of the 
[chain store] system has been ac- 
companied by the failure of thousands 




of merchants in the small towns’ 
(Prof. A. E. Newton, Hist, of U.S. 
ii. 771). ‘The merchant at the cross- 
roads store IS as much a business man 
as the merchant of N.Y.’ said W. J. 
Bryan m his famous ‘cross of gold’ 
speech at the Dem. convention of 

It is in a corresponding sense that 
Americans use the verb merchandise 
— a word which in Eng. is a noun only. 
‘The educated Negro comes out of 
school to find most white-collar jobs 
closed to him. He is generally ex- 
cluded from merchandising.’ ‘His 
father ran a general merchandising 
store’ (Upton Sinclair Presents 
William Fox, 14). ‘Because of an 
efficient merchandizing system, the 
company is able to offer low prices to 
its employees’ (Bruce Crawford, in 
Culture m the South, 305). 

message is the technical term for 
an official communication from the 
President of the U.S. to Congress. 

‘ The message was a verbose document 
of more than 20,000 words. . . . Out 
of the excess verbiage of this first 
presidential state paper grew the 
more definite principles which he 
made his own’ (H. F. Pringle, 
Theodore Roosevelt, 245). 

The term may similarly denote an 
official communication from (1) the 
Governor of a State to the State 
Legislature or (2) the Mayor to the 
City Council. (1) "The Governor of 
the Commonwealth at once recog- 
nized the serious situation in which 
the banks had placed themselves. 
His message to both houses of the 
legislature dealt at length with the 
financial situation’ (G. T. Starnes, 
60 Years of Branch Banking m Vir- 
ginia, 90). (2) ‘The Mayor in his 
message to the aldermen yesterday 
declared himself in favor of the city’s 
operating its own lighting plant.’ 

midway. In addition to its other 
meanings, midway is in Am. sometimes 
a noxm, denoting the entertainment 
section of an exposition or fair. ‘Ever 
since Chicago led the way, the “Mid- 

way'* features of our great fairs have 
threatened more and more to over- 
shadow the mere educational fea- 
tures.’ ‘Out in the little “Midway” 
of tents and booths, where the two- 
headed baby was on exhibition, where 
the six-legged calf and the freak horse 
were housed.’ The term was first 
used in connexion with the Chicago 
World Fair of 1893, where it indi- 
cated the actual position of this 
feature in relation to the plan of the 
whole exposition. 

mighty is no longer used adverbially 
in Eng. as it once was, exc. in dial., 
but this use persists colloq, in Am. 
‘There will be some mighty interest- 
ing conferences to-morrowl’ ‘It was 
not only unfair, but it was mighty 
bad policy,’ ‘It is a mighty good 
thing that it is possible now’ (Speech 
of President Theodore Roosevelt). 
‘He said a mighty good thing about 
mathematics’ (O. W. Holmes, Auto- 
crat of the Breakfast Table, 1). ‘We 
were mighty glad to see the lights 
of Atlantic City’ (F. J, Stimson, Mv 
U.S. 439). 

mileage. In Eng. distance measured 
in miles. In Am., as in official circles 
in India, also a travelling allowance 
based on distance in miles. ‘An 
officer who is ordered to change station 
while he is on leave of absence is en- 
titled to mileage from the place of 
receipt by him of the order to his new 
station.’ ‘It is estimated that the 
allowed mileage about jiays the fares 
of a congressman, his wife, and three 
children’ (Prof. A, B. Hart, Actual 
Government, 228). 

mill has in Am. a meaning which has 
nothing whatever to do with any 
mechanical operation. It is a term 
used in financial calculations to 
denote a thomandth part of a dollar^ 
In this sense it is derived from the 
Lat. miUe, ‘The Legislature of Mis- 
souri gave the St. Louis Board of 
Education power to use as school 
money six mills on each dollar of 
the city’s valuation for purposes of 
taxation.’ ‘They support the Uni- 




versities by a direct mill tax levied 
upon the assessed valuation of the 
State.’ ‘The continental paper was 
bought and sold by speculators at 
prices ranging all the way from a 
mill to a quarter of a cent on a dollar’ 
(Prof. D. S. Muzzey, The Am. Ad- 
venture, i. 120). 

In Eng. the verb mill is little used 
exc. trans. In Am. it is intrans. also, 
meaning move round and round in a 
crowd. ‘Policemen were clearing the 
sidewalks, and in the City Hall the 
crowd was milling’ (W. A. White, 
Masks in a Pageant, 480). ‘A mil- 
ling, enthusiastic and hilarious mob 
gathered at the corner of Park and 
Tremont streets’ (A. G. Hays, Let 
Freedom Ring, 160). 
mine. In Am. mine worker is some- 
times preferred to the Eng. term 
miner. Thus, the organization known 
as the United Mine Workers of Am. 
corresponds to the Miners’ Federa- 
tion of Great Britain. 

miss. Prof. F^lix Boillot correctly 
warns his French readers (Le Vrai 
Ami du Traducteur, 167) that in 
good Eng. miss is not used exc. before 
a proper name; so that it is as 
ridiculous for a Frenchman to say 
‘Nous venons d’engager une miss’ as 
for an Englishman to say ‘We have 
just engaged a mademoiselle’. It 
might be added that the only ex- 
ception is to be found in such con- 
temptuous expressions as ‘a pert miss’. 
In Am. there is no such restriction 
on the use of the word. ‘Misses’ and 
Girls’ Fall Apparel at very attractive 
prices’ (Advt.). ‘The little girl who 
would like to ride on the Shetland 
pony when the clown offers any miss 
in the audience an opportunity’ 
(M. Deland, Dr. Lavender’s People, 
836). ‘They were a regular business 
vaudeville team — one big and broad- 
gauged in all his ideas; the other 
unable to think in anything but boys’ 
and misses’ sizes’ (G. H. Lobimek, 
Old Gorgon Graham, 288). 
mission. The mission style of archi- 
tecture, fhmiture, &c., is that which 

takes as its pattern the type found 
in the buildings erected by the Spanish 
Roman Catholic missions m Cali- 
fornia. ‘Soft green pottery that will 
harmonize well with mission formture 
m the favorite green oak.’ ‘The 
mission style has been found well 
adapted to such materials as stucco’ 
(E. D. Adams and J. C. Almack, 
Hist, of U.S. 724). ‘ Modern California 
has done everything to keep the old 
Spanish province everywhere in mind. 
There are “mission” plays and 
“mission” groceries and “mission” 
garages, and, as all Am. knows to its 
sorrow, “mission” furniture’ (Hakri- 
SON Rhodes, Am. Towns and People, 

The word mission is also used in Am, 
to denote a permanent diplomatic 
establishment. Thus one may speak 
of ‘the British mission at Washing- 
ton’. The subject of Dr. A. A. 
Ettinger’s book entitled The Mission 
to Spam of Pierre SouU is not an 
appointment outside the regular 
diplomatic service, such as in Eng. 
might be called a mission, but a 
normal appointment as U.S. Mmister 
to Madrid. 

mistreat is commonly preferred in 
Am. to the Eng. maltreat. ‘The fact 
that negroes are mistreated m the 
North is no excuse for mistreating 
them in the South.’ ‘There is some- 
thing loathsome about the character 
of a person who would cruelly mis- 
treat a horse.’ ‘He shipped on a 
coastwise sailing vessel but was mis- 
treated by the mate’ (Diet. Am. 
Biog. vi. 425). 

Hence Am. mistreatment = Eng, 
maltreatment. ‘To attack the Ad- 
ministration for its alleged mistreat- 
ment of the Philippines.’ ‘The mis- 
treatment of the mail was due to the 
carelessness of clerks in the post 
oflace.’ ‘Acc. to decisions in various 
states [in divorce suits] cruelty may 
include mistreatment endangering 
life or health’ (M. A. Elliott and 
F. E. Merrill, Social Disorganiza- 
tion, 521). 




tmixer. In Eng. a mixer is a person 
who performs the operation of mixing 
in vanous manufactures, &c. In Am. 
it IS also the term for one whose 
social gifts make him quickly at home 
with all sorts and conditions of men. 
‘The ideal president of a university 
will know how to sympathize with 
men in every department. He must 
be a mixer.’ ‘In this campaign he 
developed a gift which he w'as least 
suspected by the politicians of ha\dng 
— ^the gift of being a good “nuxer”. 
He made votes hand over fist, gomg 
around among the people of the dis- 
trict, getting acquainted with them 
and gi\ing them a chance to get ac- 
quainted with him.’ ‘He was not a 
mixer. He was never known to slap 
anyone on the back in jovial fashion’ 
(D. Lawhence, True Story of Wood- 
row Wilson, 86). ‘ Fat, jolly and a good 
mixer, he made friends on every hand’ 
(Willis J. Abbot, Watching the 
World Go By, 200). 

moderator. In Eng. moderator is 
the title of certain examiners at 
Oxford and Cambridge and of the 
occupants of certain ecclesiastical 
offices in the Presbyterian and Con- 
gregational Churches. In Am. the name 
is similarly used in an ecclesiastical 
sense, and in addition it is given to 
the person elected to preside over a 
TOWN MEETING (q.v,). ‘Deacon Ly- 
sander Richardson, the moderator, 
sits aghast in his high place as they 
come trooping in, men who have not 
been to town meeting for ten years’ 
(W. Chokchill, Comston, 58). ‘When 
I came up on the platform I asked for 
a moderator, as the New Englanders 
call a chairman ’ (L. Steffens, Auto- 
biog. 595). 

monarch. The derivative monar- 
chial is sometimes preferred in Am. 
to the Eng. form monarchical. ‘It 
was, indeed, a monarchial govern- 
ment which Hamilton recommended, 
thinly camouflaged by rep. forms’ 
(Prof. T. J. Gkayson, Leaders and 
Periods of Am. Finance, 55). ‘An 
attempt at the establishment of a 

monarchial scheme in the New W'orld ’ 
(L. F. Hill, Diplomatic Relations 
between the U.S, and Brazil, 105). 

fmonkey. The reputation of the 
monkey for playing mischievous 
tricks has enriched the vocab. of Am. 
metaphor. ‘After a good play the 
whole team would for a moment cut 
monkey-shines that would make the 
grand stand and bleachers roar’ 
(J. W. Johnson, Black Manhattan, 
64). Here monkey-shines = Eng. 
capers. ‘The public promulgation of 
such an order can only mean a w^aming 
to Russia that Eng. wull not tolerate 
any undue delay or any monkey 
business whatsoever.’ 

monkey with = Eng.pfoy 
tricks mith^ meddle with. ‘It is strange 
what a passion some people have to 
monkey with that structure. A few 
years ago we had to pray the legisla- 
ture to save it from destruction.’ 
‘Too much monkeying with the cur- 
rency and the coinage has been going 
on of late at Washington.’ ‘“Hello 
in there!” came a voice. “Don’t 
monkey with that line!” And it 
came to me that this rope held the 
block which held the swing which 
held the man’ (C, Moffett, Careers 
of Danger, 33). ‘A common form of 
error, w^hen you monkey with statis- 
tics’ (Flokence Converse, Effi- 
ciency Expert, 157). 

monopoly is followed in Eng. by of 
but in Am. by on. ‘The South no 
longer has a monopoly on “Dixie”. 
It is national in the broadest sense.’ 
‘No religion has ever held a monopoly 
on the control of human passions’ 
(W. D. Orcutt, Kingdom of Books, 
31). ‘The national banks were given 
the monopoly on bank note currency’ 
(Prof. E. S. Sparks, Agricultural 
Credit in U.S. 336). 

moot. In Am. mooted point and 
mooted question are alternatives to 
moot point and moot question. ‘There 
are, besides, a number of mooted 
points upon which authorities are not 
agreed.’ ‘The questions of seniority 




and tests for employees are still 
mooted questions.’ ‘This reorganiza- 
tion already has caused a great deal 
of discussion, and probably for 
generations to come will constitute 
one of the mooted points of Am. rail- 
road finance’ (Prof. T. J. Grayson, 
Leaders and Periods of Am. Finance, 
466). In Eng. one might say ‘The 
question was mooted’ but not ‘It was 
a mooted question’. 

most is commonly used in Am. as 
an abbrev. of utmost ‘Most everyone 
waited to see the finish.’ ‘The Presi- 
dent is capable of being wrong on 
most all important questions.’ ‘A 
better idea of its location can be got 
by asking most any resident.’ ‘There 
was a crowd most everywhere m 
Nassau County to-day.’ The same 
abbrev. may be found in some Eng. 

mourn. The name mourning^dove is 
sometimes given to the common Am. 
turtle-dove, on account of its plain- 
tive note. ‘Toward evening there 
came from some far-away pot-hole m 
the woods the cry of the mourning- 
dove’ (M. H. Hartwick, in Life m 
the U.S. 7). 

ttJnove. The Am. coUoq. expression 
get a move (on) = Eng. hurry up, look 
alive, ‘Four months have passed and 
not a single case has been called for 
trial. The District Attorney should 
imitate the example of the President 
and get a move on.’ ‘The frightened 
passenger was relieved of a watch and 
his purse, and the robber yelled; 
“Get a move there, the rest of you. 
I’ve no time to wait. Have your 
money ready when I come.” ’ ‘Con- 
servatism doesn’t go in Western 
Yankeedom. When it comes to 
mottoes, there is a widespread in- 
clination to accept “ Get a move on” 
as the watchword of one’s existence.’ 

mucilage is an unusual word in Eng. 
but is the common term in Am. for 
the adhesive known in Eng. as gum, 
‘Blank books, transfer files, inks, 
mucilage, fine stationery, &c.’ (Advt.). 

‘ I bought pencils, crayons, and 
mucilage of the local stationers’ 
(K. D. WiGGXN, My Garden of Mem- 
ory, 112). On inquiring at an Am. 
Post Office whether there was gum 
on the newspaper wrappers, I re- 
ceived the reply: ‘Yes, they’re 

muck-rake, Bunyan’s well-known 
character, ‘the man with the muck- 
rake’, has long provided a suitable 
description for one who takes a de- 
praved interest m foul or scandalous 
thmgs. Pres. Theodore Roosevelt 
adroitly — ^but quite unfairly — ex- 
ploited the implications of this term 
by denouncing as muck-rakers a group 
of writers who, early in the present 
century, set themselves to investigate 
and expose the corruption in Am. 
political and business life. In the 
course of time it has become recog- 
nized that those who undertake such 
tasks are actuated by pubhc-spmted 
rather than unworthy motives, and 
to muck-rake now means simply to 
investigate and expose shady pro- 
ceedings, without any suggestion that 
the investigator takes pleasure in 
the process. ‘To pass legislation in- 
creasing the amount spent on pensions 
would arouse a storm of indignation 
among the people and cause the 
pension system as a whole to be muck- 
raked as it has never been hitherto.’ 
‘Municipal muck-rakers have insisted 
constantly that the ever-increasing 
cost of municipal government is due 
to the waste and corruption of city 
officials.’ ‘In the late Wilson and 
Harding admimstrations there were 
obvious grafts, but the Senate itself 
was doing some muck-raking’ (L. 
Steffens, Autobiog. 831). ‘The 
“Home Rulers” turned muck-rakers 
and charged Behrman with receiving 
$100 per month from the Edison 
Electric Co. while state tax assessor’ 
(Dr. H. ZxNK, City Bosses in XJ.S. 322). 
See Dr. C. C. Regier’s study of The 
Era of the Muckrakers (University 
of N. Carolina Press). 

mull. In Eng. to mull is to make 




a mess of. A fielder at cricket mulls 
a catch if he lets the ball slip from his 
hands. In Am. this verb is employed 
(usually with over) in the sense of 
cogitate, ruminate, without any sug- 
gestion of failure. Bonaparte has 

been mulling over the constitution, 
and it is no secret he discovered grave 
objections to many of its provisions.’ 
‘With Mi. Wilson the art of medita- 
tion was not lost. He liked to mull 
over problems’ (D. Lawrence, True 
Story of Woodrow Wilson, 228). ‘He 
was lying ill in bed and mulling over 
the big deal which meant so much to 
him’ (Prof. T. J. Grayson, Leaders 
and Periods of Am. Finance, 462). 
‘Canning mulled the problem over 
and in the summer suggested to our 
Minister etc.’ (J. Truseow Adams, 
Hist, of the Am. People to the Civil 
War, 279). 

mural. In Eng. mural was once a 
noun as well as an adj. It meant 
a wall. In Am. it is to-day a noun, in 
the sense of mural decoration. ‘One 
of a senes of murals installed in the 
Public Library.’ ‘The growing use of 
murals as a unifying and significant 
part of a room’s ensemble is rapidly 
reuniting the fine arts with interior 
decoration. . , . Especially difficult is 
the problem of harmonizing a mural 
with diverse styles of fiimishings,’ 
‘The notable murals of the Library 
of Congress’ (Prof. A. M. Schlesin- 
GER, The Rise of the City, 274). ‘He 
painted histoncal murals for the 
Minnesota and Wisconsin capitols’ 
(Diet. Am. Biog. xii. 645). 

muscle. In Am. muscle may be a 
verb. The expression muscle into 
make one^s way into, with a suggestion 
of violence. ‘An unscientific d^tion 
measure had, for a time, “muscled 
into” the situation’ (Prof. Irving 
Fisher, Mastering the Crisis, 53). 

In the vocab. of the bootleg^rs, 
muscle in is almost a technical term. 
‘“Muscling in”, which was the at- 
tempt to appropriate selling territory 
already sacred to another gang, was 
responsible for nearly all the re- 

mainder [of the conflicts between 
bootleggers]’ (S. B. Whirple, Noble 
Experiment, 130). 

museum. ‘Although a museum 
may include a library (as does the 
British Museum) or a picture gallery, 
the word is not in ordinary Eng. use 
applied to an institution of which 
either of these is the sole or most 
prominent feature. On the continent 
the corresponding word is often used 
with reference to a collection of works 
of painting or sculpture’ {O.B.D,). 
The continental practice is followed 
in Am., where museum often =* art 
gallery. Thus, the official catalogue 
of a special exhibition held at the 
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 
in April 1034, refers to the staff of 
that institution as ‘the ^Museum’s 
staff’. In the August 1034 issue of 
the American Mercury there appears 
an article which purports to discuss 
the effect of the economic crisis upon 
Am. museums, but it actually deals 
almost entirely with Am. picture 
gallenes. ‘Evidence of a country’s 
love of painting is generally found in 
the number and size and quality of 
the country’s museums ’ ( Uda Milner 
Gregory, in Culture in the South, 

mushroom. In Eng. the verb 
mushroom, in the fig. sense of spread 
out, is applied only to bullets. In 
Am. it may be used of fires also. ‘A 
fire that started in the basement and 
spread rapidly through the hallway 
to the top floor, where it mushroomed.’ 

muslin. What is called calico in 
Eng. is muslin in Am. An Am. paper 
telS the story of an Englishwoman, 
newly arrived in Am., who was buy- 
ing some materials with which to 
make pyjamas for her husband. She 
foimd what was shown her too thick, 
and said so. ‘Perhaps, madam,’ said 
the obliging saleslady, ‘you would 
like muslin.’ To the mind of the 
customer, muslin suggested something 
diaphanous, and the thought of her 
serious husband so clad was too much 
for her gravity. 




mustard. The Am. term mmtard 
greens denotes the tops, i.e. the leaves, 
of the mustard plant. These leaves, 
when green and fresh, are boiled and 
served as part of a meal. The Eng. 
mustard and cress seems to be un- 
known in Am. 


name. The verb name is rarely used 
in Eng. but commonly in Am. in 
the sense of appoint (Cf. French 
rummer ) ‘The Board of Education 
has aroused a color-line agitation by 
naming a negro as janitor of the 
public school.’ ‘Mr. King has been 
named consul at Aix-la-Chapelle.’ 
‘He was named as the Bampton 
Lecturer for 1822 ’ (S. W. Duitield, 
Eng. Hymns, 188 ). 

Am. name for = Eng. name after, 
‘Congressman Rockwood Hoar was 
named for his uncle, the late Ebenezer 
Rockwood Hoar.’ ‘A series of lec- 
tures at University College, London, 
named for the late Lord Northcliffe.’ 
‘He organized the Hendricks Club, 
named for Vice-Pres. Thomas A. 
Hendricks’ (Dr, H. Zink, City 
Bosses in U.S. 74). ‘Evans now lived 
in Chicago and later in its suburb 
which was named for him, Evanston’ 
(Diet. Am. Biog, vi. 205). 

nasty. ‘The original force of the 
word, denoting what is disgustingly 
duty or foul, has been greatly toned 
down or altered in Eng. use, but is 
retained in the U.S., where nasty is 
not commonly used by polite speakers’ 
(O.E.D.). It is perhaps too much to 
say that the word ‘is not commonly 
used by polite speakers’ in Am. The 
point is that, when they do use it, it 
is in the sense of disgustingly dirty. 
Thus an Am. never speaks of a nasty 
day (meaning impleasant weather), 
or a nasty fall while hunting, or a 
taste for the cheap and nasty. 

naval, navy. The term nceoed 
officer has m Am. a spec, meaning. 

explained in the following quotation, 
‘More than one reader must have 
paused abruptly over the headline 
“Would Abolish Naval Officers” and 
wondered with a gasp whether the 
millennium had really come xmherald- 
ed and our Dreadnoughts were about 
to be converted into floating hos- 
pitals for consumptives. Of course it 
IS not the men who command our 
warships that the President’s Eco- 
nomy Commission has decided to do 
away with, but the persons technically 
described as Naval Officers, who form 
part of the customs machinery in the 
ports of the U.S.’ ‘Upon his retire- 
ment from legislative work he was 
appointed naval officer of the port of 
Boston* (Diet. Am. Biog. ix. 836). 
Charles Hudson, in whose biog. this 
statement occurs, was never an 
officer in the navy but a minister of 
religion who was also a politician. 
The Am, Navy Department corre- 
sponds to the British Admiralty, 
‘He claims that the Navy Depart- 
ment denied him an opportumty to 
demonstrate the value of his boat.* 
Am, navy yard = Eng. dockyard, 
‘They weaken the army and navy by 
retiring officers and refusing am- 
munition appropnations instead of 
abohshing useless army posts and 
navy yards.’ ‘Other divisions of the 
shore establishment include great 
dry-docks and machine shops at navy 
yards at the great harbors’ (F. J. 
Haskin, The Am. Government, 157). 

near. In Am, near is frequently 
used, in the sense of almost^ in com- 
bination with (1) adjectives or (2) 
nouns, either with or without a 
hyphen. (1) ‘The children have been 
going around near-nude all winter 
and presumably will not wear much 
less durmg warm weather.’ ‘The 
Negro man of the near-white type is 
far more likely to leave the Negro 
group and align himself with the 
white than is the near-white Negro 
girl’ (E, B. Reutek, Race Mixture, 
70). (2) *The original idea was that 
a lot of near-saints, called electors, 



should vrmp their togas around them 
and after solemn reOection pick out 
the best man for President.’ ‘A near , 
duel between Auguste de Stael and i 
Benjamin Constant’ (R. L, Hawkins, 
Mme. de Stael and the U.S, 40). 
‘Some alleged labor leaders have been 
near-racketeers’ (N. Thomas, Ameri- 
ca’s Way Out, 274). ‘The danger i 
point will be reached when a near- j 
shortage drives pnces upward* (L. j 
Denny, Am. Conquers Britain, f321). 1 
‘Two near-recalls, which have fallen \ 
short of official action’ (L. F. Bird 
and F, M. Ryan, The Recall of Public 
Officials, 98). ‘His near blindness 
made it almost impossible for him 
to get about’ (Diet. Am. Biog. viii. 
486). The passing of the Prohibition 
Amendment resulted in a demand for 
a drink known as near beer, concerning 
which a wag remarked that the man 
who gave it that name must have 
been a poor judge of distance. 

fThe word may also be compounded 
with by to form the adj. near-by, 
‘Southey and Coleridge were near-by 
neighbors.’ ‘Many had their lunch- 
eons at a near-by restaurant’ (M. E. 
Wilkins Freeman, By the Light 
of the Soul, 417). ‘Short canals to 
connect near-by rivers’ (Prof. C. R. 
Fish, The Rise of the Common Man, 

neighbo(u)rhood. ^In the neigh- 
bourhood of as SL substitute for about is 
described by H. W. Fowler in Modem 
Eng, Usage as ‘a repulsive combina- 
tion of polysyllabic humour and peri- 
phrasis Until quite recently this 
expression has been peculiar to Am., 
where it has been in common use 
since the beginning of the present 
century, at any rate. ‘The work now 
in progress is to cost in the neigh- 
borhood of $200,000.’ ‘In the neigh- 
borhood of 350 conductors on the 
different railroad lines.’ 

A use of neighborhood that is still 
peculiar to Am. is in such terms 
as the neighborhood schools, meaning 
the schools of the neighborhood. One 
similarly finds neighborhood gossip, a 


neighborhood raw, neighborhood papers, 
neighborhood meetings, neigh^rhood 
stores, neighborhood opinion, and 
neigfiborhood sentiment. 

New Year. In Am. Xetc Yeafs 
Day is often abbrev. to Yew Year’s. 
‘Within three months, probably be- 
fore New Year’s, direct telegraphic 
communication will be estabhshed.’ 
‘An hystencally gay Christmas and 
New Year’s’ (S. E. Rodger, in Life 
m the U.S. IGl). 

news. Am. newsdealer = Eng. news- 
agent, ‘Readers who are unable to 
secure a copy of any edition of the 
paper from any newsdealer will confer 
a favor on the management by re- 
porting the fact promptly.* ‘News- 
paper earners and news dealers are 
really engaged in one form of retail 
deahng’ (H. Best, Blindness and the 
Blind in the U.S. 227). 

In Eng. a news-room is a room, 
usually connected with a public 
library, in which various newspapers 
are available for reading. The Am. 
news-room is that department of a 
newspaper office which deals with the 
news section of the paper. ‘ When The 
World was sold, it was not regarded 
in the newsrooms of The World as 
a specially big story’ (J. W. Barrett, 
in The End of The World, 3). 

For news-stand, see stand. 

Am. newsy = Eng., newsboy, ‘Cur- 
few Law for Newsies’ (Headlme), 
‘The fair feminine members of the 
Children’s Aid Society who assumed 
the duties of newsies and sold papers 
at ridiculously low prices to good- 
natured buyers.’ An alternative to 
newsy is news-hawk, apparently an 
abbrev. of news-himker, ‘Whose 
nerves are jarred and jaded by 
crowded subways, screaming news- 
hawks, and dashing taxis’ (M. A. 
Elliott and F. E. Merrill, Social 
Disorganization, 439). 

next. In Am. the next man s= any- 
one else, the first comer. ‘A Dem. plan 
of campaign which leaves N.Y. and 




New Jersey to the enemy is doomed 
to failure. Mr. Bryan knows this as 
well as the next man.’ ‘We do not 
surrender our property to the next 
man who is an abler business mana- 
ger’ (S. G. Fisher, True Hist. Am. 
Revolution, 146). ‘The Am. under- 
dog has been taught to believe that, 
essentially, he is as good as the next 
man, and as such has the right to 
refuse to stay an underdog’ (L. 
Adamic, Dynamite, 362). 

The colloq. expression get next to is 
sometimes eqmvalent to another Am. 
colloq. expression, get wise to. (See 
WISE.) ‘ The British people are getting 
next to Dowie; and as a natural 
consequence his usefulness among 
them is about at an end,’ It may also 
denote a close acquaintance pursued 
with the object of profitmg by it. 
‘The art of “getting next” to a State 
department, the most lucrative prac- 
tice of “honest graft” at the Capitol.’ 

nickel) unknown m Eng. except as 
the name of a metal, is in Am. the 
usual term for a fioe-cent piece. 
‘Nickels, dimes, and quarters were 
tumbling mto cash drawers.’ ‘They 
worked twelve hours a day, for less 
than a nickel an hour’ (H. N. Casson, 
Life of C. H. McCormick, 38). 

night. A night stick is a tnmcheon 
which is part of the equipment of 
an Am. policeman on mght duty. 
‘The policeman made a tourniquet 
out of the strap on his night stick, and 
succeeded in stoppmg the flow of 
blood.’ ‘The pohceman kept feeling 
of, weighing, and finally whirling 
nervously his long night stick, like 
a lion waving its tail’ (L. Steffens, 
Autobiog. i. 213). 

The name of Night Riders was given 
to an organization of farmers in 
Kentucljy and Tennessee, who in 
1908-9 resisted the attempt to create 
a powerful monopoly in the purchase 
of tobacco for manufacture. They 
committed attacks by night on 
tobacco-growers who refused to join 

See also hawk. 

nine. In Am. a baseball team is a 
nine, as in Eng. a cricket team is an 
eleven. ‘Just as men cheer for their 
own baseball nine.’ ‘The great ball 
game of the season was to be played 
between the Clayton team and the 
Lexington nine’ (Alice Hegan Rice, 
Sandy, 91). 

nip. The Am. expression nip and 
tuck has nothing to do with the Eng. 
nip in the sense of pinch, but is derived 
from an Eng. dial, and colloq. word mp, 
which means move quickly. (Hence 
also the modern Eng. term nippy, 
denoting a waitress who is nimble in 
her service. This term, by the way, 
is a registered trade mark, so there are 
probably legal difficulties to prevent 
its bemg taken into use in the general 
sense suggested by its derivation.) 
The expression sometimes means at 
full speed. ‘It began its march in 
July, and by a nip-and-tuck effort 
reached Peking in the middle of 
August’ (A. Nevins, Henry White, 
169). More commonly it = Eng. neck 
and neck, a close thing. ‘He sat down 
to rest for a few moments in close 
proximity to a small tank of gasohne. 
He lit his pipe to enjoy a smoke, and 
as they went up through the ceiling 
a moment or two later it was nip and 
tuck between him and the tank.’ 
‘Throughout the 14th century it was 
nip and tuck between the evolving 
Turk and the dissolving Eastern 

nolle. The legal term nolle prosequi, 
which in Eng. is a noim only, is in 
Am. a verb also, usually with the 
omission of prosequi or with the sub- 
stitution of prosse. Sometimes nolle 
is contracted to nol. ‘Case Against 
Haskell NoUed’ is the headline of a 
newspaper paragraph which begins; 
‘All cases against Haskell were nolle 
pressed Friday.’ ‘A third count in 
the indictments was nol pressed by 
the District Attorney.’ ‘In the two 
years 14,567 cases were nolle-prossed 
or dismissed’ (D. L. Colvin, Pro- 
hibition m U.S. 505). 




noxie« In the sense of not at all, tliis 
word is used in Eng. only with the 
and the comparative, or with so 
or too, as none the better, no?ie so good, 
none too good. In Am,, as in certai^ * 
Eng. dial., there is no such limitation. * 
‘Has civilization advanced none from 
the barbaric days of the fifth cen- 
tury?’ ‘These men suffered none in 
comparison with their wlyte col- 
leagues’ (R. R. Moton, l\’hat the i 
Negro Thinks, 100). ‘I slept none j 
that night’ (Frank Roney’s Auto- 
biog. 104). 

normal. For the origin of the Am. 
derivative normalcy, see the first 
quotation. ‘At Boston, a few weeks 
before the Convention [of 1920] he 
[Warren G. Harding] had correetly 
expressed the growing desire of the 
people of the country and at the same 
time liad unwittingly added a new ^ 
word to the language, -when he said, j 
“America’s present need is not heroics j 
but healing; not nostrums but nor- j 
malcy ; not revolution but restoration ; 

. , . not surgery but serenity”’ (F. L. 
Allen, Only Yesterday, 43). ‘Com- 
pared with it, the achievements of 
aviation , , . that hitherto had pro- 
vided his paper with headlines, faded 
into the normalcies of a back page.’ 
‘With the return to religious nor- 
malcy, there came a general feeling 
of relief and relaxation’ (Prof. H. W. 
Schneider, The Puritan Mind, 125). 
‘I never regretted any word more 
than the %vord normalcy, because 
normalcy spells death, the end of all 
things’ (C. Nagel, Speeches and j 
W^ritings, i. 78). 

notch is common in Am. in a fig. 
sense. ‘Its prices are at the lowest 
notch.’ ‘An exhibition of collective 
strength that shall raise us a notch 
or two in the estimation of the 
nations.’ ‘The wages of labor in the 
building trades have been pushed to 
the very top notch.’ 

In some parts of the U.S. the word 
may mean a mountain pass, and in 
this sense it may form part of a place- 

name. ‘Not the least attractive 
feature of the route is Wilmington 
Notch, a chasm two miles long formed 
by a rent in the side of W^hitefaec,’ 
‘New Hampshire will cover herself 
with disgrace if she fails to save the 
magniticent Crawford Notch from 
the deadly injury threatened by 
lumbermen who have begun cutting 
down the forests %vhich clothe its 

Am. top-notch = Eng, tip-top, first- 
rate, ‘Several new jackets that are 
top-notch in style and make’ (Ad\’t.). 
.‘The tenant is willing to pay the top- 
notch rent.’ ‘The average lawj^er 
earns $2,000 a year; the top-notch 
lawyer gets $2.50,000’ (E. E. Calkin>s 
• and R. Holden, The Art of Modem 
I Advertising, 142). 

Hence Am. top-noteker = Eng. first- 
1 rater, ‘WTiile his ability, with the 
onslaught of years, had deteriorated, 
there was a time w^hen he was con- 
sidered a top-notcher.’ 

notion. In every Am. department 
store will be found a notion depart- 
ment, where various small and in- 
expensive articles are for sale. It 
corresponds broadly to the Eng. 
haberdashery, ‘At 8.30 this morning 
we begin our Fall Sale of Notions 
and Dressmaking Supplies’ (Advt.). 
‘Valentines and Favors in Notion 
Department’ (Advt.). ‘Notion De- 
partment; Dress Shields, Pin Cubes 
and Collar Foundations’ (Advt.), ‘At 
the book counter a lady said “Please 
give me Double Thread” and wanted 
to complain to the floorwalker when 
the girl, instead of giving her Miss 
Fowler’s book, told her to go to the 
notion counter.’ ‘Prof. Ely has 
pointed out several branches* of in- 
dustry in which small-shop produc- 
tion is increasing. It is pronounced 
in the notion trades’ (W. J. Ghent, 
Our Benevolent Feudalism, 18). ‘ One 
chain of 5-and-lO-cent stores tlirough 
its 1,800 branches sells annually 
$72,000,000 worth of “notions’” 
(Prof. A. E. Martin, Hist, of U.S. 
ii. 771). 




nulJ. In Eng. a lum.'p ox protuberance. 
In Am. the core, kernel^ or central point 
of an affair. ‘Let us get at the hard 
nub of the business’ (F. Norris, Re- 
sponsibilities of the Novehst, 51). 
‘The beginner cannot get far wrong 
if he gets the nub of the whole story 
into his first paragraph’ (E. L. 
Shxjman, Practical Journalism, 61). 
‘The paramountcy of the constitution 
may be conceded; but the nub ques- 
tion is ; who shall determine what the 
constitution means?’ (Prof. H. L. 
McBain, The Living Constitution, 

nullification, nullify. These terms 
have a spec, meamng in Am. politics, 
as indicated in the following quota- 
tions. ‘On many occasions states 
declared that they themselves had 
the power to decide when acts of 
Congress violated the federal Con- 
stitution and that they could nidlify 
such laws within their borders no 
matter what the Supreme Court said. 
This was the doctrine of defiance and 
nullification announced from time to 
time by states, North and South, and 
made famous by the Kentucky and 
Virginia resolutions of 1798-99 and 
the Nullification Ordinance of S. 
Carolina passed in 1832’ (C. A. and 
W. Beard, The Am. Leviathan, 65). 
‘The Alien and Sedition Acts [in 
1798] brought forth responses in 
the form of resolutions passed by the 
Southern State of Virginia and the 
Western State of Kentucky, claiming 
that the Acts were in contravention 
of the Federal Constitution and calling 
upon other States to consider them 
void, thus voicing the doctrine of 
States’ rights and nullification’ (J. 
Truslow Adams, The Epic of Am. 
134). ‘The new S. Carolina legislature 
summoned a special state convention. 
This body adopted by an over- 
whelming vote an “Ordinance of 
Nullification”, declaring the tariff 
laws of 1828 and 1832 unconstitu- 
tional and void within the state’ 
(Prof. A. M. ScHUESiNGEB, Pohtical 
and Social Hist, of U.S. 87). 


oar. The compound oarlock is now 
seldom used in Eng., having been 
generally superseded by rowlock. In 
Am. It is still the common term, 
‘Clinker-built boats . . . one pair ash 
oars and oarlocks’ (Advt.). ‘She can 
distinguish the sound of oarlocks a 
mile away and tell whether the boat 
is manned by friend or stranger’ 
(G. A. Hastings, Happy Journeys to 
Yesterday, 42), 

of is used in Am. in place of the 
Eng. to, in the sense of before (a parti- 
cular hour). ‘At five minutes of four 
I stepped from the Avenue line.’ 
‘The second day I got to bed at a 
quarter of twelve.’ ‘Everybody here 
played bridge last night till 20 
minutes of one this morning’ (J, H. 
Choate, quoted in his Life by B. S. 
Martin, ii. 151). ‘ It was a quarter of 
three, but there were lights m his 
cottage’ (Sinclair Lewis, Work of 
Art, 342). 

See also all, feel, off, smell. 

off, as a prep., is in Am. frequently 
followed by of. ‘This is illustrated 
by the use of salt to melt the ice off 
of sidewalks’ (Prof. J. L. Howe, 
Inorganic Chemistry, 63). ‘You and 
I have to get off of the ground if we 
are going to do anything’ (Dr. C. H. 
Parkhurst, a Little Lower than the 
Angels, 65). ‘After the edge had been 
mbbed off of the struggles and hard- 
ships of the early settlers’ (H. Croly, 
Marcus Alonzo Hanna, 1). 

office. In Am. the use of the term 
office is not restricted to places of 
busmess. A doctor or dentist sees his 
patients in an office, ‘A physician’s 
office and reception room offers a new 
problem to the decorator.’ ‘Behind 
the drug store was the oflSce of Dr. 
R. C. Hewett.’ ‘He opened a den- 
tist’s office’ (Diet. Am. Biog. vi. 9). 
The Eng. term domestic o^es, de- 
noting the parts of a house devoted 
to household work, storage, &c., is 
unknown in Am. 




In Am. the compound office-holder^ 
unknown in Eng., is the normal term 
to denote the occupant of a post 
under Government. It thus fre- 
quently corresponds to the Eng. civil 
servant, ‘Two great leaks in the 
federal budget are the salaries of 
federal ofliceholders and the pay- 
ments to World War veterans.’ 
‘Federal officeholders were forbidden 
to solicit or receive, directly or in- 
directly, political contributions or 
assessments from one another. . . . The 
prohibition did not extend to state 
and local officeholders, whose salaries 
continued to furnish the main source 
of fiinds in the lesser elections’ 
(Prof. A. M. ScHLESiNGEE, The Rise 
of the City, 403). ‘When he [Jeffer- 
son] entered office there was not a 
single office-holder of his own political 
beliefs’ (J. Tbuslow Ad.uis, Hist, of 
the Am- People, i. 217). 

Another Am. compound, office- 
seeker^ similarly denotes an applicant 
for a Government post. ‘The assas- 
sination of President Garfield at the 
hands of a disappointed office seeker’ 
(Prof. R. McElroy, Grover Cleveland, 
i. 123). ‘At the outset, he [Lincoln] 
was simply besieged by office-seekers’ 
(C. A. and M. R. Beard, The Rise 
of Am. Civilization, li. 95). Robert 
Henry Newell, an Am. humorous 
writer, made his reputation by 
sketches which he published under 
the name of ‘Orpheus C. Kerr’, in- 
tended as a play upon the term 
office-seeker. In Eng., in the days 
when the patronage system flourished, 
this kind of person was called a place- 

old. The adj. old-time is known in 
Eng. as well as Am,, but the noun 
old-timer is at any rate more foequent 
in Am. than in Eng. ‘The Colonel 
was too experienced a politician not 
to know that the old-timers then in 
control would load the dice heavily 
against him’ (L. Einstein, Roose- 
velt, 199). 

A partly-smoked cigar is sometimes 
called coUoq. an old soldier. ‘That 

sign which forbids the carrying into 
the ears of half-smoked cigars, pipes 
and cigarettes belongs to the class 
that is never enforced. Like the signs 
admonishing the riders not to spit on 
the floor, the rule about “old sol- 
diers” might as well never have been 
posted, judging from the good it does.’ 

The Old Colon}/ is Massachusetts. 
‘All roads lead to PhTuouth — ^you will 
remark at the very beginning'of your 
pilgrimage through the Old Colony’ 
(K. M. Abbott, Old Paths and Le- 
gends of New Eng. 357). 

The Old Dominion is Virginia. ‘Vir- 
ginia, through a veto of the governor, 
has delayed its long-meditated pro- 
ject of sending a statue of Robert E. 
Lee. The Old Dominion is unlikely 
to send anybody else until his statue 
has been received there.’ 

Old Glory is a popular name for the 
national flag. "A setting of bright 
blue skies, against w'hich Old Glory 
can wave in splendor.’ ‘The smoke 
stack of the engine swathed in 
voluminous folds of Old Glory’ (J. 
Hawthorne, Hawthorne and his 
Circle, 48). 

Old hickory is a nickname given to 
President Andrew Jackson on ac- 
count of the toughness and sturdiness 
of his character. ‘I should not say 
that Old Hickory was faultless, but 
Andrew Jackson was as upright a 
patriot, as honest an American, as 
faultless a gentleman as ever any 
nation had’ (Pres. Theodore Roose- 
velt, in a speech). ‘The classes who 
found democracy incarnated in “Old 
Hickory” voted solidly for Jackson’ 
(J. Trdslow Adaais, Hist, of the 
Am. People, i. 293). 

The Old Home Day or Old Home 
Week is a New Eng. institution whose 
nature will be imderstood from the 
first quotation. ‘In about 50 of the 
towns and cities of IVIassachusetts 
this first week of August is being 
observed as Old Home Week, and 
preparations have been made for wel- 
coming back in a more or less formal 
way the visitors who return to their 
native, or earlier, home to renew 




acquaintance with former scenes and 
companions.’ ‘Old Home Day was 
observed at Langmaid’s Grove with 
a barbecue of the old-fashioned kind. 
Two lambs were roasted whole, and 
baked beans were served in indi- 
vidual pots.’ ‘None of New Hamp- 
shire’s towns have given a warmer 
Old Home Week welcome to their 
guests than did Epping, which burned 
three of its bmldings yesterday 
morning.’ ‘“The Washington at- 
mosphere of to-day is like that of Old 
Home Week or a college class re- 
union” wrote Edward G. Lowry 
shortly after Harding took office’ 
(F. L. Allen, Only Yesterday, 125). 

on is frequently used in Am. where 
other prepositions would be used in 

Am. on = Eng. abouty concerning. 

‘ I noticed a paragraph in the papers 
giving the figures on the production 
of asbestos.’ ‘Statistics on the birth- 
places of notable Americans.’ 

Am. on = Eng. against. ‘A Char- 
lotte gentleman is telling a good story 
on one of his country friends.’ ‘John 
Alexander Dowie to-day began' a 
legal fight on his opponents.’ ‘The 
people openly rejoiced that the laugh 
was on those whom they often con- 
sider their natural enemies.’ 

Am. on = Eng. in. ‘He is rowing 
on the freshman crew at Yale.’ 
‘ Christians have, presumably, a 
copyright on the Golden Rule.’ ‘A 
volume well enough printed to be 
read on a railway train.’ (In Eng. one 
would say ‘in a railway train’ or ‘on 
a railway journey’.) ‘The man on 
the street must acknowledge that he 
knows little about conditions in the 
rural sections’ (L. F. Carr, Am. 
Challenged, 10). ‘Objects on the 
street below are described as of life 
size’ (E. H. Spalding, Principles of 
Rhetoric, 60), ‘Milton’s Life on 
Bread Street’ is the title of a chapter 
in Lucia Ames Mead’s Milton^s 

Am. on = Eng. of. ‘Hardly anyone 
tries to take notes on the lectures.’ 

‘Dreamers awake from their lethargy 
and seem to take a new lease on life/ 
‘These provisions may be regarded 
as infringements on the theoretical 
scope of the power by itself’ (D. M. 
Dewitt, Impeachment and Trial of 
Andrew Johnson, 181). 

See also brush, hand, monopoly. 
The expression on yesterday is an 
example of the Am. use of on where 
it would be considered superfluous in 
Eng. ‘The Rev, W. D. Smith was 
on yesterday elected to the office of 
archdeacon.’ ‘I took occasion to ask 
the Secretary of State on yesterday’ 
(Sen. H. C. Lodge, reported in the 
Congressional Record, Dec, 27, 1922). 
‘I duly received your address on 
yesterday’ (J. F. Rhodes, quoted in 
his Life by M. A. de W. Howe, 326). 

fonce. The Am. compound once- 
over denotes a cursory survey ^ as dis- 
tinct from a detailed scrutiny. ‘ Order 
your meats prepared and served 
plain, and then you can give them 
the nasal once-over. If they pass, 
they are pretty safe’ (Dr. R. L. 
Alsaker, Eating for Health and 
Efficiency, 394). ‘Jim brought him 
a little packet of literature, suggesting 
that Lenard give it the once-over’ 
(L. Adamic, Laughing in the Jungle, 

open. For Am. open note, see quota- 
tion. ‘The notes are of the open (or, 
as our English friends term it, minim 
or semibreve) style.’ These notes are 
presumably so-called because they 
are written with a loop which is not 
filled in, as in the case of a crotchet. 
In Eng. this term denotes a note 
produced by an organ pipe which is 
not closed at the top, by a string not 
stopped by a finger, or by a wind 
instrument without slide, key, or 

See also shop and wide. 

In the vocab. of Am. stores opening 
is a technical term denoting a display 
of the styles for the new season. ‘ Th& 
is the first week of the annual fall 
openings in all the shops. ... At an 
opening at one of the large stores 




this week were seen some very 
original voile gowns.’ This use of the 
word explains the following extract 
from the comic column of a news- 
paper. ‘ Teacher : “ What is the mean- 
ing of aperture^ Class (m chonis): 
“An opening.” Teacher: “Tommy 
Smith, give a sentence containing the 
word aperture,''^ Tommy: “All the 
big stores have had their fall aper- 

operate. In Am. operate is a much 
overworked word, being freely used 
in place of the Eng. work, run, con- 
duct, carry on, deal with, ‘A sedan 
operated by Sidney Begor ran into 
a car owned and operated by Ned 
Taylor.’ ‘Europeans think we oper- 
ate our institutions greatly to the 
advantage of the female sex,’ ‘In 
1879 Pierpont Morgan stepped out 
upon his own and operated sensation- 
ally the first underwnting in Am. 
railway securities’ (J. K. Winkler, 
J. Pierpont Morgan, 97). ‘Closing 
machines now operate 120 to 125 cans 
per minute where pre\iously they 
operated 60’ (B. Lasker, IMipino 
Immigration, 74). ‘The National 
Research Council is not an organiza- 
tion which operates scientific labora- 
tones’ (Prof. M. Putin, From Immi- 
grant to Inventor, 373). Other ex- 
tracts might be given to show that in 
Am. one may operate a railway, a 
bank, a factory, a mill, a wagon, a 
boat, a farm, a newspaper, a school, 
a cafe, a college, a theatre, a canal, 
an oil reserve, a play ground, a park. 

There is a similar freedom in the 
intrans. use of the word. ‘The saving 
in operating expense for the church 
for the year is 42 per cent.’ ‘The man 
who invented the first prepared cereal 
food operated in an empty bam, 
without machinery.’ ‘The skill with 
which he operated in the Senate.’ 
‘Vice appeared to operate rather 
openly throughout the city’ (Dr. H. 
Zink, City Bosses in U.S. 86). ‘The 
banks operating under state charters’ 
(Prof. A. E. Martin, Hist, of U.S. 
i, 312). ‘Sundry white citizens were 

1 aggrieved that the City Council 
j tolerated a Negro dentist to remain 
' and operate in their midst’ (C. S. 
Johnson, The Negro in Am. Civiliza- 
tion, 11). In this last quotation the 
writer is referring not to the per- 
formance of dental operations but to 
the carrying on of the occupation of 
a dentist. Hence Am. operating costs 
= Eng. running expenses, working 

So, too, with operation, ‘She had 
been in charge of the operation of the 
cafeteria.’ ‘The bill to prevent the 
operation of hotels on Sundays.’ 
‘The Bureau supervised the building 
and operation of schools’ (Prof. A. E. 
Martin, Hist, of U.S. ii. 10). 

Am. operator must be carefully dis- 
tinguished from Eng. operative. It 
denotes an employer, not an em- 
ployee. ‘After reciting the claims 
made by the miners and the operators 
respectively, the report makes the 
following aw\Trds.’ ‘The demands of 
the labor organizations for higher 
wages w'ere rejected by the operators 
of the mills, mines, factories, and 
railroads’ (Prof. A. E. ^Iartin, Hist, 
of U.S. ii. 21C). ‘Mark Hanna told 
the coal operators that it would be 
the better i)art of valor to give the 
men what they wanted’ (M. R. 
Werner, Bryan, 124). ‘The opera- 
tors in that section were wise enough 
to realize that the type of farming 
practiced in that section wouldn’t 
pay modem wages’ (C. F. Carr, 
Am. Challenged, 62), 

orchestra. In Am. the name of 
orchestra, orchestra chairs, or orchestra 
stalls is given to that part of a theatre 
which is known in Eng. as the stalls, 
‘Fitch climbed down from the stage 
into the orchestra stalls" (Diet. Am. 
Biog. vi. 430). ‘She regarded me 
much as she would a new play for 
which she had an orchestra seat’ 
(G. Atherton, Adventures of a 
Novelist, 143). ‘A President must 
always be on his dignity. He cannot 
sit in the orchestra or in the balcony, 
away from everybody’s staring glasses’ 




(D, Lawrence, True Story of Wood- 
row Wilson, 117). 

order. In Am. to say that a thing 
is in order does not always mean 
either that it is in accordance with 
the rules regulating the proceedings 
of a meetiag, or that its constituent 
parts are systematically arranged. 
The meaning of the term has been so 
extended that it is sometimes equiva- 
lent to permissible, appropriate, fitting, 
or even probable. ‘Surely it is in 
order time and agam to protest 
against the prevalent notion that 
literary pleasure is given only by 
poems and dramas and novels and 
tales.’ ‘ Mr. Hoover will then discover 
that reparations and debts are, after 
all, not a finished fact, and that it 
will be quite in order for a loyal and 
patriotic Am. to discuss those ques- 
tions.’ ‘Unless between now and 
next week either side yields, a general 
tie-up in the shipyards wUl be in 
order.’ ‘But the discussion of specific 
campaigns and particular situations 
may be more illuminating than that 
of common practices, and it is now 
in order perhaps to discuss in more 
detail the way m which a few battles 
have been carried on’ (Prof. C. E. 
Merriam, Chicago, 281). ‘As the 
soft Roman days lengthened to spnng, 
campagna picnics were in order.’ 

The expression call to order differs in 
meaning in Eng. and Am. In Eng. 
a chairman calls a speaker to order 
if he injfringes the rules of procedure. 
In Am. he calls the meeting to order 
by formally opening the proceedings. 
‘The annual meeting of the society 
of alumni was called to order shortly 
after 10 o’clock in Jessup Hall.’ 
‘There was a large gathering in 
response to this announcement. It 
was called to order by Mr. Crocker, 
who undertook to define the objects 
of the meeting’ (G. T. Clark, Leland 
Stanford, 76). ‘The Rep. National 
Convention of 1900 had been called 
to order at 12:30 o’clock with the 
usual formalities’ (H. F. Pringle, 
Theodore Roosevelt, 220). 

Am. in short order = Eng. immedi* 
ately, in no time. ‘He would leave a 
few pills which he assured me would 
cure the trouble in short order.’ 
‘The fire was put out in short order, 
and before it could get anywhere near 
the powder.’ ‘Professors of Latin, 
stepping into a college presidency, 
have had to deal m short order 
with problems of drainage’ (Dr. A. 
Flexner, Universities, 159). 

Am. idiom permits an ellipsis of to 
be after the verb order. ‘ The Emperor 
ordered his bones transported to the 
New World.’ ‘The Commissioner be- 
came irate and ordered Sulzer im- 
peached* (Dr. H. Zink, City Bosses 
in U.S. 155). ‘ Minister Adams worked 
steadily and skilfully to prevent the 
sailmg of the vessels on completion, 
and Russell finally ordered them 
seized’ (J. Truslow Adams, Hist, of 
the Am. People, ii. 58). ‘The mayor 
ordered the railway tracks torn up 
and the bridges destroyed’ (Prof. 
A. E. Martin, Hist, of U.S. i. 665). 
See also fill. 

ordinance. Except historically (e.g. 
the Self-Denying Ordinance) and in 
the phrase religious ordinances (mean- 
ing religious ntes) ordinance is rarely 
used in Eng. In Am. it is the tech- 
nical term for a legislative decision of 
a municipality, esp. such as in Eng. 
would be called a by-law. ‘So far as 
the city ordinances are concerned, 
the theatre-goers of Chicago seem to 
have been well enough protected. It 
was the failure to enforce the ordi- 
nances which made disaster possible.’ 
‘The Philadelphia councils enacted 
an ordinance which provided for the 
establishment of a gas works with a 
capital of $100,000’ (Dr. H. Zink, 
City Bosses in U.S. 194). ‘Defendant 
was convicted of violating an ordi- 
nance of the town of Burlington 
limiting the speed of automobiles in 
the fire district to 8 miles per hour’ 
(G. R. Sherrill, Criminal Procedure 
in N. Carolina, 116). 

The tendency in Am. is to confine 
the use of by-law to the rules and 




regulations of private companies and 

organic. When an Am, territory 
(q.v.) is created or when a territory 
becomes a state, the law passed by 
Congress to prescribe the fundamental j 
conditions of its government — ^the 1 
law, that is to say, which organizes 
it — is called an organic law or organic 
act, ‘In 1864 the territory of Mon- 
tana was organized. . , . Unfortunately 
the organic act failed to provide a 
system of law for the territory’ 
(Diet. Am. Biog. ix. 243). 

organize, organization. In the 
vocab. of Am. politics these words 
have a spec, meaning. A newly 
elected Congress is said to be or- 
ganized when its principal officers and 
committees have been elected. Such 
posts are mainly filled by representa- 
tives of the majority party. Even the 
Speaker of the House of Representa- 
tives is avowedly a partisan, who is 
expected to use his position m the 
interests of his own party. This ex- 
plains an otherwise mysterious com- 
ment of an Am. paper on the British 
general election of 1931. ‘So great 
was the strength of the Conserva- 
tives’, it said, ‘that some observ^ers 
pointed to the possibility of that 
party being able to organize the 
House of Commons.’ ‘When the 
session opens, the Democrats will 
organize the House. They will put 
John N. Gamer in the Speaker’s 
chair and take over the committee 
chairmanships, which are now held 
by Republicans.’ ‘The Republicans, 
who had only an infinitesimal major- 
ity, had organized the House with 
Thomas B. Reed as Speaker’ (F. E, 
Leupp, Walks about Washington, 
103). ‘This 14th Congress met on 
Monday, Dee. 4, and it was not 
organized by Federalists’ [i.e. the 
Federalists were not in the majority] 
(B. A. Konkle, Joseph Hopkinson, 

The term organizatiort not only 
denotes the process described above, 
but is also a synonym for the party 

MACHINE (q.v.). ‘His administration 
has been non-partisan. Let the com- 
plaints of the baser organization 
Republicans testify.’ ‘“I’m a cus- 
toms inspictor,” says th’ boy. “Tis 
a good job,” says Hannigan. “I 
thried Tr it w-anst mesilf, but I jined 
th’wrong or-gan-ization”, he says’ 
(F, P. Dunne, Mr. Dooley’s Opinions, 
163). ‘Every official of this Court is 
at some time touched with the blight 
of local organization politics’ fW. B. 
and J. B. Northrop, The Insolence 
of Office, 106). 

oriole. The Eng. and Am. birds of 
this name belong to quite different 
families. The Eng. oriole is of the 
family Oriolidae, but the Am. belongs 
to the Icteridae, closely allied to 

out is commonly used in Am. to 
intensify a verb : as "ftry out, lose out, 
win out, watch out, test out, perish out. 
One may compare the Eng. Prayer- 
book version of Psalm xxvi. 2: ‘Try 
out my reins and my heart.’ 

For take out (to dinner) see take, 

tf A person w’ho is eagerly attempting 
to get something may be said in Am. 
to be out for it, or out to get it. ‘A 
band of Revolutionary soldiers who 
had not received their back pay, and 
were out to get it by any means, fair 
or foul’ (Prof. T. J. Grayson, Leaders 
and Penods of Am, Finance, 37). ‘An 
agent provocateur out to wreck the 
unions by dividing labor’s ranks’ 
(L. Symes and T. Clement, Rebel 
Am. 191). 

A peculiarly Am. meaning of out 
is lacking, minus, ‘The araent en- 
thusiast who stands open-mouthed 
at the election board discovers long 
before he knows who is the next 
President that he is out a watch or a 
diamond pin.’ 

In Am. 0 M« may be used as a noun, 
in the sense of drawback, flaw, ‘We 
don’t just know how we are going 
to feel toward this scheme; we think 
we see some outs about it.’ ‘As the 
campaign developed it became mani- 
fest that there were no serious outs 




in the year’s work.’ ‘He has the 
advantage of having a political 
machine ready at hand. The outs 
about him that you and I should feel 
would not affect the masses’ (Prof. 
A. C. Coohdge, in a letter quoted in 
his biography by H. J. Coolidge 
and R. H. Lord, 252). The word may 
also denote omission, ‘“Outs”, or 
omissions from copy, are detected by 
means of the trained copy-holder’ 
(T. L. DE ViNNE, Modern Methods of 
Book Composition, 298). 

Am. at outs = Eng. at odds, at 
variance. ‘Bishop Barnes is at outs 
with some of his clergy of the extreme 
Catholic party in regard to sacra- 
mental teachings.’ ‘She was at outs 
with her parents because of her 
marriage, so she went to live with her 
aunt.’ ‘Almost every one of the 
novelists W’ho w^ere ranked most 
highly by the post-war intellectuals 
W’as at outs with the censors’ (F. L. 
Allen, Only Yesterday, 119). This 
expression is found in some Eng. dial. 
The compound outgiving is of Am. 
coinage. It denotes a statement 
made to the public, esp. as a declara- 
tion of policy. ‘His fixed plan of 
minimizing the revolutionary char- 
acter of his fiscal programme is ably 
continued in his latest outgiving.’ 
‘The political leader knows how to 
cajole, to influence, even to mislead 
public opimon, but he seldom at- 
tempts to manage it by the disin- 
genuous outgiving, because he knows 
the dangers of the method.’ ‘The 
comedy developed through days of 
thunderous outgivings from the pri- 
vate letter-files on both sides’ (M. 
SuLLiViSiN, Our Times, lii. 102). 

outfit* In Am. this term may not 
only denote the material equipment 
for a journey or expedition but may 
include the group of persons under- 
taking it. It is esp. used of a party 
yf men in charge of herds of cattle. 
As the outfit rode away to relieve 
the last guard, every mother’s son 
was singing’ (Andy Adams, The 
Outlet, 81). ‘lie outfit consisted of 

three covered wagons, four tents, 
eighty saddle horses, three cooks, and 
about twenty riders’ (Hamlin Gar- 
land, Roadside Meetings, 286). ‘The 
Rocky Mountain fur trade was carried 
on much more by parties of white 
trappers than by outfits of traders, 
derks and voyageurs who bartered 
for furs secured by the Indians’ 
(K. W. Porter, John Jacob Aitor, 
768). ‘He spent three years with an 
outfit of 45 men trading and trapping’ 
(Diet. Am. Biog. xiv. 601), 

The meaning of the word has been 
extended to apply to a number of 
persons combined for any purpose. 
‘The entire outfit of candidates on 
the State ticket intend to vote for 
Peck.’ ‘There sprang into power the 
Am. Federation of Labor, an un- 
idealistic, hard-headed outfit’ (L. 
Adamic, Dynamite, 84). ‘The Tam- 
many outfit had supported him in 
the gubernatorial campaign’ (W. G. 
McAdoo, Crowded Years, 38). 

over. Am. Over « Eng. P.T.O. 
(Please Turn Over) at the bottom of 
a card, as an instruction to read what 
will be found on the other side. 

Am. over and over = Eng. over and 
over again. ‘Women and children 
went to see it over and over’ (A^Iark 
Sullivan, Our Tunes, iii. 463). 

f-fAm, put over or get over «= Eng. 
pmt through, but commonly with a 
suggestion of adroitness, not to say 
sharp practice, that is absent firom 
the Eng. term. ‘Some of the bosses 
helped the reformers put over their 
anti-gmft charter’ (L. Steffens, 
Autobiog. 409). ‘He cast about for 
some method by which his object 
might be attained. The way m whidh 
he “put it over” is illustrative of the 
resourcefulness and ingenuity of a 
facile and able intellect’ (Prof. T. J. 
Grayson, Leaders and Periods of 
Am. Finance, 67). ‘One of the great- 
est hoaxes ever planned was put over 
by a French forger’ (Dr. A. S. W* 
Rosenbach, Books and Bidders, 
117). ‘He rather delights in taking 
pains with what he wants to get 




over’ (Ida M. T.viibell, Owen D. 
Young, 246). See across. 

^Q'QeraUm In Eng. this is a loose 
outer garment worn by women — 
e.g. domestic servants — ^to keep their 
clothes from being soiled while they 
are at work. In Am. the plur. form 
overalls denotes an outer garment 
worn by men for a similar purpose. 
In a review of the O.E.D., the N.Y. 
Nation (Jan. 21, 1904) remarks: ‘Dr. 
Murray is misled by Bancroft into 
making mere trousers of it; it is all 
but what would be called nowadays 
a “union garment”, lacking the 
sleeves, and 50 years ago was worn 
by boys at play to protect their 
jackets as well as their trousers.’ 
"The workman likes his pipe while 
he’s w'orking, but when he takes off 
his overalls and goes home he wants 
a cigar.’ ‘There advanced toward 
him beside a heavily laden baggage- 
truck a stout man, wearing the silk 
cap and the oily overalls of a railroad 
employee.’ ‘His audience was made 
up almost entirely of workmen from 
the factories, most of them being in 

overly. This word, a synonym for ex- 
cessively, is now rare in the British Isles, 
exc. dial, in Scotland and Ireland. In 
Am. it IS still in frequent use. ‘In 
a majonty of instances the bride- 
groom is not overly blessed with 
funds.’ "In our magazine we have re- 
peatedly haiped on the evil of consum- 
ing overly refined foods.’ ‘Nor is my 
purpose an overly zealous one’ (M.E. 
Chase, A Goodly Heritage, 8). 

overseer was formerly used in Am. 
to denote a man in charge of slaves 
on a plantation. It has to-day a spec, 
use at Harvard, defined m the follow- 
ing quotation. ‘Storey’s official con- 
nection with the University was for 
many years that of a member of the 
Board of Overseers, a body of 30 
men chosen by the alumni literally, 
if in practice somewhat leniently, to 
oversee (with large powers of veto) 
the smaller body of seven to whose 
hands the active conduct of the Uni- 
versity is entrusted. Storey was not 

a man to take his overseeing lightly, 
and in that chief function of an Over- 
seer, which is to serve on committees 
to “visit” departments of the Uni- 
versity, and to conduct special in- 
vestigations, he took his work with 
all seriousness’ (M. A. de W. Howe, 
Portrait of an Independent, 174). 

The overseer of the poor is a local 
government official in both Eng. and 
Am., but with different functions. 
In Eng. he assesses, collects, and dis- 
tributes the poor rate, and makes out 
jury lists and lists of voters for parlia- 
mentary and municipal elections. 
The actual relief of the poor, which 
was once part of his duties, is now 
carried out by other officers. In Am., 
on the contrary, this is the one duty 
of the overseers of the poor. 

In Am. the noim overturn often 
takes the place of overthrow or revolu- 
tion, ‘The object of the fray is neither 
the overturn of government nor the 
ending of private property.’ ‘Then 
came the political overturn which 
brought in Thomas Jefferson’ (Prof. 
T. J. Grayson, Leaders and Periods 
of Am. Finance, 215). ‘It is probable 
that the extreme depression will pass 
in a year or two, barring social and 
political overturn in some countries, 
which might delay recovery’ (J. 
Truslow Adams, The Epic of Am. 

owl. The nocturnal habits of the 
owl have suggested m Am. an appro- 
priate name for trains that run in 
the small hours of the night. ‘The 
engine of the “owl train” — ^for by 
this term the one leaving N.Y. after 
midnight is called — ^went off the 
track.’ ‘The mail car that comes up 
to this city from N.Y. on the owl 
train, due at 3.20 a.m.’ 


pack. The verb pack is specialized 
in Am, to mean prepare food for pre- 
servation (i.e. canning or tinning). 
Acc. to the article on the subject in 




the EncycL Soc, ScL (x. 244) this use demands, the packers have declared 
of the term dates from the colonial that they will grant the wage increase 
period. From Boston and other sea- if the men will agree to do 10 per 

board cities there sailed, to the West cent, more work.’ ‘Packers coming 

Indies and the Southern plantations, within this legal classification are 
vessels carrying pickled meat, which subject to severe penalties when 
was barrelled or packed for the found guilty of attempts to mono- 
journey. ‘Hence,’ says the Encycl.^ polize business, manipulate pnces, 
‘although the greater part of the meat or discriminate unjustly against any 
prepared each year continued to be person’ (C. A. and W. Beard, The 
shipped in bulk, the term packing Am. Leviathan, 545). 

came to be applied to the entire In Am. the word package is corn- 
procedure of preparmg various kinds monly used to denote what in Eng. 
of meat for market.’ ‘The invention would be called a packeL It is oho 
of the refrigerator completely changed generally equivalent to the Eng. 
the meat business of the U.S., resmt- parcel, ‘A car parked near Mam 
ing in great packing centers from Street yesterday was filled with 
which meat was sent m all directions Christmas packages, purchased dur- 
mstead of being slaughtered for local ing the day by a Winchester woman.’ 
use in each little commimity’ (E. D. ‘A bushel of wheat will buy just one 
Adams and J. C. Almack, Hist, of package of cigarettes and one package 
U.S. 576). ‘The word “packing” is of gum.’ ‘The mternal revenue law 
sometimes misunderstood. Packing fixes the size of packages of tobacco’ 
connotes slaughtering, the prepara- (T. C. Blaisdell, The Federal Trade 
tion of the slaughtered meat for the Commission, 217). ‘Their expresses 
market, and then packing, shipment carried gold-dust, mail, packages and 
and eventual distnbution’ (Prof, passengers’ (Diet. Am. Biog. vi. 271). 
J. T. Grayson, Leaders and Periods ‘There are too many people whose 
of Am. Finance, 393 j. ‘White farm idea of a summer’s literary provision 
laborers, displaced by Filipino work- becomes embodied in a package of 
ers in their jobs of packing peas and ephemeral novels’ (W. M. Payne, 
lettuce’ (B. Lasker, Filipino Immi- Little Leaders, 165). Important legal 
gration, 17). questions have arisen in connexion 

Hence the noun pack is used to with what is known as the original 
denote the product of such an in- doctrine ;i.e. the theory ‘that 

dustry. ‘The salmon pack on the when goods imported from another 
Frazer River this year is practically State or coimtry are still in the hands 
a failure. The total pack this season of the importer unsold and in their 

to date is 68,804 cases.’ original packages they are still a part 

In Eng. a packer is a workman who of interstate commerce. But if the 
puts thmgs together in boxes, bun- goods have been taken from the 
dies, &c,, for transport. Publishers’ original packages in which they were 
packers, for instance, are men who imported, though for the purpose of 
make up books in bales for dispatch sale by the importer, the interstate 
to retail booksellers. In Am. b, packer or foreign commerce has terminated’ 
is usually a person engaged in the (Prof. C. K. Burdick, Law of the 
packing industry above-mentioned. Am. CJonstitution, 213). 

Sometimes he is a labourer. Thus, The word package may also be used 
B. Lasker (Filipino Immigration, 18) as a verb. ‘This applies not only to 
writes of ‘peach and apple growers eggs, oranges, bims, but to nearly all 
who were planning to employ Fill- packaged goods.’ ‘The exorbitant 
pino packers’. More frequently the prices for packaged spirits and wines’ 
term is applied to the head of a (S. B. Whipple, Noble Experiment, 
packing business. ‘In reply to the 173). 




pad, ‘Most of the peculation took 
the form of padded bills rendered in 
connection with the construction of 
a new court house’ (Dr. H. Zink, 
City Bosses in U.S. 108). In this 
passage there is an extension of the 
normal sense of pad == stuff* What 
is meant is that the bills presented 
were for larger sums than were 
honestly due. 

paddle. In addition to its normal 
aquatic meaning, the verb paddle, in 
Am., may mean spank, smack. ‘A 
secret society of girls initiated some 
neophytes by blmdfoldmg them, 
pushing them into a bnar bush, 
paddling them, and then rolling them 
down a steep hill.’ ‘“I’ll paddle 
you ! ” is the threat used by despairing 
mothers and teachers [in Texas] m 
case of necessary discipline; and sure 
enough they do, with a regular 
wooden paddle constructed for the 

pagCi as a verb, has in Am. an 
additional meaning to that recog- 
nized in Eng. dictionaries. See the 
first quotation. ‘The practice of 
calling guests in the large hotels has 
added another word to the language. 
When a visitor steps to the desk and 
asks for Mr. Smith and Mr. Smith is 
not in his room, a bell boy is called. 
“Here, page Mr. Smith, Room 186” 
the clerk will say. The process of 
“paging” Mr. Smith consists of * 
calling out his name in the dining and 
other public rooms of the hotel’ 
(N.y. Sun, Aug. 21, 1904). ‘Mr. 
Hurleys and I were having dinner at 
the WiUard Hotel. We were dis- 
cussing a personal matter when Mr. 
Hurley was paged’ (Dr. Franklin H. 
Martin, The Joy of Living, ii. 205). 

pail. To Eng. readers Mrs. Wharton 
is one of the most intelligible of Am. 
writers, but many of them must have 
failed to catch her meaning when she 
remarked that at present the demand 
made of novelists by critics was that 
‘only the man with the dinner pail 
shall be deemed worthy of attention’ ( 

(A Backward Glance, 206). Who is 
‘the man with the dinner pail’? In 
Bng. the word pail is never used exc. 
of a vessel for carrying liqmds, but 
there is no such restriction in Am., 
where it may denote a vessel for 
carrying solids also. Hence, the 
compound dinner-pail is the con- 
ventional term for the vessel con- 
taining a workman’s mid-day meal. 
It was originally a contrivance about 
a foot high, elliptical in shape, and 
having a cup screwed into the centre 
of the closed top. Nowadays a 
thermos kit usually serves the pur- 
pose. ‘Thousands of men with their 
dinner-pails on the way to work.’ 
‘Protection may not fill the dinner- 
I pail, and yet its incautious with- 
drawal may empty it.’ ‘I was not 
much better dressed than the workers, 
and found that, by the simple device 
of carrying a dmner-pail, I could go 
anywhere’ (Upton Sinclair, Candid 
Reminiscences, 138). ‘Carrymg din- 
ner in a pail to his father at a woolen 
mill’ (D. Dudley, Dreiser and the 
Land of the Free, 30). 

The full dinner-pail is accordingly 
a common symbol of industrial 
prosperity, much as the big loaf once 
was in Eng. ‘The numerous persons 
who up to this time have believed 
that crops, prosperity, stable finances, 
and the full dinner pail all depended 
upon the Rep. party.’ ‘A good deal 
of doubt existed as to the paramount 
issue of the campaign. To Mark 
Hanna it was the Full Dinner Pail’ 
(H. F. Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt, 
224). ‘If peace means dull stagna- 
tion, selfish ease, the prosperity that 
can be measured in dollars and cents, 
there is sure to come a revulsion 
against it. The gospel of the full 
dinner-pail and the plethone pocket- 
book does not satisfy’ (Dr. S. McC. 
Crothers, The Pardoner’s Wallet, 

The dinner-pail is used also by 
children who take their lunch with 
them to school mstead of returning 
home for it. ‘ Small boys on their way 
to school with their dinner pails’ 




(David Grayson, The Friendly 
Road, 173). 

panhandle has a cunous hg. use in 
Am., denoting a narrow strip of land, 
included wit&n the boundanes of a 
State but projecting from the mam 
body of that Slate very much as the 
handle of a pan projects from the pan 
itself. ‘Your atlas will show that 
Idaho has a panhandle jutting up to 
the Canadian border.’ ‘The storm 
now extends from the panhandle of 
Texas to central Wyoming.’ ‘We 
know from Roosevelt’s letter to 
Lodge that he was ready to fight 
rather than give up the Alaskan pan- 
handle’ (A. Nevins, Henry White, 
197). West Virginia, which affords an 
example of this peculiarity, is some- 
time > called the Panhandle State, 

For some unknown reason a street 
beggar is said to panhandle and is 
cafled a panhandler, ‘On Hart’s 
island at the present time are housed 
a large number of “panhandlers” 
who have been arrested for begging.’ 
‘I watched the tramps and “pan- 
handlers” on Union Square during 
my luncheon hour’ (L. Lewisohn, 
Up Stream, 130). 

paragrapher. In Am. paragrapher 
is preferred to paragraphist, which is 
more usual m Eng. ‘The world-wide 
extent of the country newspaper 
paragrapher’s knowledge.’ ‘A very 
rich man with us is the meat of the 
paragrapher.’ ‘It was a jest for para- 
graphers and actors’ (H. Justin 
Smith, Chicago, 139). 

parish, parochial. In the early 
days of New Eng., the Eng. parish 
system was among the institutions 
adopted by the settlers, but it dis- 
appeared when the union of Church 
and State was dissolved. Nowadays 
there exists m Am. no ecclesiastical 
division of territory known as a 
parisk, but the word is sometimes 
loosely used by an Am. minister of 
religion to denote his field of labour 
or his congregation. In Louisiana, 
the territorial division corresponding 

to the county in other States is called 
a parish. 

Hence Am. parochial corresponds 
closely to Eng. denominational^ esp. 
in the term parochial school, which 
denotes a school organized and main- 
tained by a religious body, as distinct 
from the common or public school. 
‘Plans have been filed for a four- 
story parochial school, to be erected 
for St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church 
in East 117th Street.’ ‘Generally 
speakmg, the races of the Roman 
Catholic religion have much larger 
numbers in the parochial schools than 
do the races with the Protestant 
religion or esp. the Hebrews’ (J. W. 
Jenks and W. J. Lauck, The Immi- 
gration Problem, 289). ‘Not being 
an established church, the Am. 
Presbyterian churches have no par- 
ishes m the old-world sense, and there 
were those who pointed out to them 
that the term “parochial” could be 
used only by a loose analogy. Never- 
theless, the first official list of schools 
was headed “Parochial Schools in the 
Presbytenan Church”. ... A paro- 
chial school was one controlled by an 
ecclesiastical “court”; i.e. by the 
session of a particular church’ (Prof. 
L. J. Sherrill, Presbyterian Paro- 
chial Schools, 1846-70, 69). 

park, as sometimes used in Am., 
esp. in the term national park, does 
not necessarily carry with it the sug- 
gestion of a ‘tame’ piece of land, as 
in Eng. It may be of vast area — ^the 
Yellowstone Park, for instance, is 
8,426 sq. miles in extent — and may 
include mountain ranges, hundreds 
of lakes, numerous waterfalls, and 
many deep canyons. The essential 
idea of it is that it is a territory set 
apart for public use and preserved 
from exploitation by private in- 

The word park may also denote a 
playing field; e.g. baseball park, ball 
park, ‘It required some persuasion 
on her part to convince Mama that 
it was proper to go to a public ball 
park on a holiday’ (Dr. Franklin H. 




Martin, The Joy of Living, i. 247). 
fAn amusement park is an open-air 
place of entertainment at which 
various popular amusements, such as 
a switchback railway, are provided. 
‘The amusement park is neither 
bathing beach, picnic ground, Chau- 
tauqua, nor roof-garden, but par- 
takes of the qualities of all. Its direct 
ancestor was the Chicago Midway.’ 
‘Many theatres, dance halls, amuse- 
ment parks, beaches, etc., refuse to 
admit Negroes’ (Prof. T. J. Wootteb, 
Jr., Races and Ethnic Groups in Am. 
Life, 198). ‘The sort of visceral de- 
light which comes from heaving 
baseballs at crockery in an amuse- 
ment park’ (F. L. Allen, Only 
Yesterday, 233). 

ttThe verb park, now familiar in 
Eng., is a recent importation from 
Am. It was first used in connexion 
with automobiles, but often has a 
much wider application. ‘The tram 
was parked near the Union Station, 
and was visited by hundreds of 
townsfolk.’ ‘High-school girls told 
my informant that they “park” 
their corsets when they go to dances, 
because they have been taught that 
to wear them is unfavorable to deep 

parley. This word, now usually 
restricted in Eng. to a discussion of 
terms between representatives of 
contending forces, originally had the 
general sense of talk, conversation, 
conference. In Am. it retains much 
of this wider meaning. ‘Episcopal 
Leaders Busy with Parley’ (Headline 
of newspaper report of arrangements 
for the holding of a Protestant 
Episcopal Diocesan Convention). ‘On 
Thursday and Friday the college body 
of Wesleyan university will hold its 
10th annual parley. The topic under 
consideration will be “Race Rela- 
tions”. The Jewish, Negro and 
oriental problems will be the major 
points of discussion.’ 

parliamentarian. In Eng. either 
(1) an adherent of the Parliamentary 
cause in the Civil War of the 17th 

century, or (2) a member of Parlia- 
ment who is skilled and experienced 
in debate. In Am. it may also denote 
an official appointed to regulate the 
proceedings of an assembly. ‘ Whether 
the annual congress of the Daughters 
of the Am, Revolution shall have a 
parliamentanan, is a subject that 
aroused the interest of the delegates 
last night. Around the hotels where 
the Daughters are stopping it was 
rumored that a parliamentarian will be 
rr'plovod. . . Coming, a? it does, after 
Ibt prts.di Pt »i JLitl &.iid no such 
j-o^’tioii L. . because of 
her knowledge of the laws governing 
such meetings, many of the Daughters 
did not know what to think.* 

parlo(u)r. In Eng. parlour has 
largely been superseded by drawing- 
room or sitting-room though retained 
in certain technical senses, such as 
hank parlour and Mayor^s parlour, and 
in combmation, as in parlourmaid. 
It is more common in Am., where it is 
also employed as a grandiose name 
for a room that is shoAvily fitted up 
to attract customers; e.g. a barber 
will advertise his shop as a ionsorial 
parlor, ‘In 1904 there were but 
three shoe-shine parlors in the hands 
of Greeks. . . . But the Ime in which 
the Greeks have made their greatest 
success is the frmt stores, candy 
kitchens and ice-cream parlors’ (Dr. 
H. P. Fairchild, Greek Immigration 
to U.S. 127). ‘Devotees of the 
delicatessen, the sandwich shop, the 
chop-suey parlor, and the beauty 
saloon’ (H. Justin Smith, Chicago, 
220). The name is commonly given to 
a mortuary in an undertaker’s estab- 
lishment. ‘One of the Largest Under- 
takers in the World. 6 Chapels, 12 
Parlors, 18 Hearses, Ambulances and 
Cars’ (Advt.). 

A parlor car is a railway car which 
is more luxuriously fitted up than the 
ordinary car, and for which, of course, 
higher fares are charged. ‘The parlor 
car and baggage car were dragged 
from the rails, and several passengers 
in the former hurt by flying glass.* 




A parlor match is defined by Webster 
as ‘a friction match which contains 
little or no sulphur’. ‘In striking a 
parlor match file head fell off and 
fell upon the fringe of a couch cover, 
which flared up.’ 

Am. parlor socialist = Eng, arm- 
chair socialist, ‘Radicals, parlor 
socialists, and that “lunatic fringe” 
he had so often ridiculed’ (L. Ein- 
stein, Roosevelt, 202). Similarly, 
parlor sansculotte, ‘He almost in- 
variably expressed his radicalism in 
such a way that it became innocuous. 
... He was what might be called a 
parlor sansculotte’ (V. F. Calvekton, 
The Liberation of Am, Literature, 
879). Also parlor democrat, ‘Al- 
though Bancroft was politically a 
Dem., he was rather a parlor dem. 
“I love to observe the bustle of the 
world,” he wrote m an early letter, 
“but I detest mixing m it’” (J. 
Teuseow Adams, Hist, of the Am. 
People to the Civil War, 334). 
Examples might also be quoted of 
parlor Bolshevist, 

parole. For the Am. use of this 
word see the following quotation. 
‘Parole is a term commonly used m 
the U.S. to designate conditional re- 
lease granted to a prisoner who has 
served a part of his sentence in a 
penal institution’ (Encycl. Soc. Sci. 
xii. 437). In Eng. this term is used 
in relation to prisoners of war only, 
and an ordmary convict, when re- 
leased condition^y before completing 
his term of imprisonment, is said to 
be not on parole but on ticket-of-leave, 

‘The parole of has agam 

awakened discussion of the question 
whether laws should not be enacted 
making it much more difficult for 
long-term convicts to escape the 
penalties inflicted on them by trial 
courts.’ ‘It is enlightening to note 
the readiness with which a Governor, 
knowing a dangerous criminars re- 
cord, paroled him on the say-so of a 
man who admittedly knew “none of 
the details”.’ 

parquet is not used in Eng. exc. to 

denote a kind of wooden flooring. 
In Am. it may also mean a part of a 
theatre. ‘There are [m Eng, theatres] 
the stalls, which occupy one-half of 
the lower floor, our parquet.’ 

parterre. In Am, this word does 
not always mean an arrangement of 
flower beds. It is sometimes used in 
the French sense of the pit of a 
theatre. ‘The Opera House was 
packed from parterre to roof’ (G, 
Atherton, Adventures of a Novelist, 
123). The 0,E,D, defines it as ‘the 
part of the ground-floor of the audi- 
torium of a theatre behind the 
orchestra; later, m U.S., the part 
beneath the galleries’. The latest 
Eng. example quoted is dated 1756. 

partridge. Acc. to Webster, this 
word, when used without qualifica- 
tion, denotes in the Northeastern 
States the ruffed grouse, and in the 
Southern and parts of the Western 
States the hobwhite. With a qualify- 
ing word, such as mountain, GambeVs, 
Massena, &c., it is applied to the 
other members of the sub-family 
(Odontophorinae) to which the bob- 
white belongs. 

pass, passage. In Am. there are 
many persons with a strain of Negro 
blood m whom this heritage of colour 
is so inconspicuous that they might 
easily be supposed to be of pure 
white lineage. If such persons leave 
their Negro associations and succeed 
in becoming accepted as Whites, they 
are said to pass. ‘Very much of 
“passing” is more a matter of accep- 
tance or indifference than of actual 
and successful concealment’ (E. B. 
Reuter, Race Mixture, 56). 

t A business company which does not 
pay a dividend is said in Am. to 
pass it. ‘Concerns which not only 
passed dividends in the hard times 
of the nineties, but went bankrupt.* 
‘The losses to the Pennsylvania 
Railroad were appalling. For the 
first time in its history the road had 
to pass its dividend’ (J, T, Flynn, 
God’s Gold, 196). 




Am. pass up = Eng. decline^ refuse, 
‘lie was sent to the Senate as a 
Rep., but on his o\\n terms, having 
previously passed up the Senator- 
ship rather than take it on the terms 
of others.’ ‘^Vith the cue he became 
exceedingly proficient, but the game 
never absorbed him to the extent 
that he could pass up the opportunity 
for conversation or badinage’ (F, F. 
Bond, Mr. Miller of the Times, 56). 

In Eng. one usually speaks of the 
passing of a legislative measure, but 
in Am. of its passage, ‘Democrats 
joined with the Republicans in en- 
dorsing the measure, the vote upon 
its passage being 826 to 17.’ ‘The 
passage of a more stringent fugitive- 
slave law’ (J. Truslow Adams, The 
Epic of Am. 240). ‘He secured the 
passage of a law which revised city 
assessments* (Dr, H. Zink, City 
Bosses m U.S. 282). 

In Eng. pass-key denotes either a 
private key, entrusted to a person for 
a special purpose, or a master-key 
which will open several locks. In 
Am. it sometimes means also a 
skeleton-key, such as is used by a 

Hence pass-key man, ‘A pass-key 
man visited North Adams Saturday 
afternoon, and as a result of his visit 
three house owners have reported 
to the police department that about 
$500 worth of goods is nussing.’ 

pasteboard is sometimes used in 
Am. where cardboard would be used 
in Eng. ‘The crowd bnngs its lunch 
in paper bags or pasteboard boxes.’ 
‘One spring, I bought myself a little, 
cool, green snake. Eventually I 
started out on a series of visits, the 
snake accompanying me in a paste- 
board box’ (Alice Roosevelt Long- 
WOBTH, Crowded Hours, 59). 

pastor. When Mr. Hilaire Belloc 
visited the U.S., he received ‘a very 
great shock’ on hearmg a Roman 
Catholic priest called a pastor, ‘To 
the travelled Cathohc Englishman’, 
he comments, ‘there rises up with 
that word a hideous vision of the 

Huguenots. It is as though an Am, 
Baptist visiting Eng., were to hear 
one of his Ministers called Monsignor* 
(The Contrast, 260). Here is an 
example of the usage that affected 
him so painfully. ‘He [Father 
McGlynn] held several pastorates in 
the poor sections of the city . . . and 
finally became pastor of St. Stephen’s 
Church’ (Prof. G. R. Geiger, The 
Philosophy of Henry George, 844). 
In its record of the career of J. N. 
Neumann, a Roman Catholic bishop, 
the Diet, Am, Biog, mentions that 
at one time he was pastor of the 
church of St. Alphonsus, Baltimore. 

patrol is in Eng. mainly a military 
term. In Am. it is commonly used 
as a police term also, correspondmg 
to Eng. beat. Hence (1) patrol wagon 
= Eng. prison van. Black Maria, and 
(2) patrolman, (1) ‘The coimty detec- 
tives then went in the patrol wagon 
to the Criminal Courts Building.’ ‘I 
was given the choice of ridmg m the 
patrol wagon or walkmg to the police 
station’ (E. Goldivian, Living My 
Life, 124). (2) ‘Work on the new 
apartment hotel was continued to-day 
under the guard of three patrolmen 
and a roimdsman.’ ‘The pressure 
formerly brought to bear on Washing- 
ton and upon state capitals has now 
been transferred to the simplest unit 
of government, the patrolman on his 
beat* (Jane Addams, The Second 20 
Years at Hull-House, 238). ‘Uni- 
formed patrolmen assigned to foot- 
patrol duty constitute the great 
majority of the personnel of the police 
force in all cities. . . . The traditional 
method of patrol is to divide the city 
into precincts or districts, each of 
which is in turn divided mto patrol 
posts or “beats”. To each post a 
patrolman is assigned’ (Dr. C. C, 
Maxey, Outline of Municipal Govern- 
ment, 167). 

pavement. The paved footpath by 
the side of a street, which in Eng. is 
called th& pavement, is in Am. the side- 
walk, The Am. pavement is the Eng. 
roadway. Thus, when preparati ns 




were being made in Washington 
for a procession of several thousand 
members of a fraternal order, the news- 
papers of the city complained that in 
Pennsylvania Avenue the grandstands 
jfilled the sidewalk and compelled 
pedestrians to walk on the pavement. 
‘It IS a terrible task to pull a ponder- 
ous engine or water tower on wheels 
through streets where the going is 
as difficult as it still is over many 
miles of our pavements.’ ‘You could 
see the sidewalks on either hand, but 
the dark wooden pavement of the 
street was almost lost in shadows’ 
(Ernest Poole, The Dark People, 4). 

pay is often used attnb. in Am. 
‘The total number of calls for each 
book during three months in a pay 
library.’ ‘Five men were killed in a 
collision between a pay tram and a 
passenger tram. The pay train, con- 
sisting of a locomotive and one coach, 
was going west to pay the men along 
the division.’ ‘Enough pay patients 
will be taken to assist the hospital 
management in carrymg on its work.’ 
‘A five-doUar gold piece was placed 
in the pay envelope of every em- 
ployee’ (H. Croly, Marcus Alonzo 
Hanna, 89). ‘He gave illustrated 
lectures to pay audiences’ (Diet. Am. 
Biog. xiii. 373). 

When a mmer turns up earth in 
which he finds gold, he calls it pay 
dirt, ‘Pay dirt had been discovered 
near the confluence of the South 
Platte and Cherry Creek’ (H. V. 
Faxjlkner, Economic Hist, of U,S. 
205). This term sometimes has an 
extension of meaning; e.g. ‘The 
German archaeological expedition to 
Babylon, which was at first disap- 
pointing in the small number of 
inscriptions discovered, has now 
struck “pay dirt” and has unearthed 
a mass of cuneiform tablets.’ 

A compound in everyday use in Am. 
is pay-roUy corresponding to the Eng. 
mages sheet or salary sheet, ‘The bufle 
of the names on construction crew 
pay-rolls began with “O” or “Me”* 
^MEark Sulltvan, Out Times, iii. 395). 

‘The first move [of Chicago ringsters] 
is to scan the list of the payroll and 
either fill it with old friends, or com- 
pel enemies and neutrals to take a 
new oath of allegiance’ (Prof, C, E. 
Merbiam, Chicago, 29). ‘The in- 
creased production was accomplished 
without equal increase in factory pay- 
rolls, since neither hours nor wages 
were yet changed’ (G. Soule, The 
Coming Am. Revolution, 223). 

peanut is not an exclusively Am. 
word, though the nut it denotes is 
more commonly known m Eng. as 
the monkey-nut. The term peanut 
politics, however, needs interpreta- 
tion for Eng. readers. It is applied to 
political tactics of a mean and paltry 
type, and the man who is accustomed 
to practise them is dubbed a peanut 
pohtiaan. "An overgrown village 
governed by the proverbial peanut 
politicians and dominated by a 
typical political boss’ (F. L. Biro and 
F. M. Ryan, Recall of Public Officers, 
125). ‘If the Rep. party has all the 
really good brains, then it follows as 
a matter of course that any Dem. 
Cabinet, if not actually deficient 
mentally, consists of adolescents and 
small peanut politicians’ (W. G. 
McAnoo, Crowded Years, 191). Dr. 
C. A. Beard, in discussing the proper 
size for a Congressional district, says 
that, if it is too small, its representa- 
tive ‘is likely to be what is called in 
political slang “a peanut pohtician”, 
that is, one narrow in mind, devoted 
to petty business, and incapable of 
taking a large view of things’ (Am. 
Government and Polities, 24). 

This emplo 3 nnent of peanut as a 
term of derogatory political metaphor 
explains an otherwise mysterious 
allusion in the following extract from 
an Am. newspaper: ‘His acceptance 
of the chairmanship is a guarantee 
that the Dem. campaign will not be 
knee-deep in peanut shells.’ 

tpedal. The fimction of the soft 
pdal of a pianoforte has suggested 
in Am. the employment of a verb 
soft-pedal in a fig. sense. ‘ The leading 




educational centres tended to stress 
the utilitarian studies and soft-pedal 
those courses which sought merely 
cultural ends' (F. F. Bond, Mr. Miller 
of The Times, 170). ‘The Dem. 
managers urged Wilson to soft-pedal 
his reply’ (J. Kerxev, Political 
Education of Woodrow* Wilson, 72). 
‘The intervnew had become the big 
story* of the evening, and even those 
who" wanted to soft pedal it had to 
treat it as such’ (High Low* Washmg- 
ton, 122). 

peek. In the 0,E.D. the latest Eng. 
example of the verb peek = peep is 
dated 1739. The word is still current 
in Am. ‘Peeking through windows, 
listening at keyholes.’ ‘A shabby 
curtain moved and a black head 
peeked out cautiously’ (C. G. Wil- 
son, Chinatown Quest, 84). 

The Am. noun peek = Eng, glimpse. 
‘The '■‘George Washington” reveals 
Woodrow Wilson just as the essays 
on Burke and Gladstone and Lee 
reveal him. But they give us a peek 
at only one phase of him’ (William 
Allen White, Woodrow* Wilson, 123). 
Am. peek-a-boo = Eng, hide and 
seek. ‘The budding flowers were 
playing peek-a-boo with one another.’ 
The name has been applied to an 
article of attire, for a reason given 
in the next following quotation. ‘A 
shirt-waist, supposed to be an ex- 
treme of daring, in which embroidered 
perforations permitted sight of female 
epidermis upon the arms and as much 
as two inches below the nape of the 
neck, was called the peek-a-boo’ 
(Mark Sullivan, Our Times, iii. 
499). ‘In San Francisco there is no 
winter suit and summer smt. The 
same medium-weight garment is 
worn the year round and the peek-a- 
boo waist is miknow*n.’ 

penalty. The Am. term penalty 
envelope denotes an official envelope 
used for letters on Government busi- 
ness and thus corresponding to an 
Eng. envelope marked O.H.M.S. 
(On His Majesty’s Service). It derives 
its name from the fact that a penalty 

is imposed for its unauthorized use. 
‘The officials of the District Govern- 
ment were not entitled to the use of 
the mails like other Federal officials 
who use penalty envelopes.’ 

penitentiary. A penitentiary was 
originally a place of monastic disci- 
I plme. Later it came to have the two 
! meanings now* attached to it in Eng. ; 

I (1) an asylum for prostitutes seeking 
an amendment of life, and (2) a 
reformatory prison or house of cor- 
rection. In Am. it commonly denotes 
a prison^ without any suggestion of 
reformation of character, ‘Swindles 
that should land the promoters in 
the pemtentiary.’ ‘When the fact 
that the Post Office Department 
harbored a nest of thieves was brought 
to his attention, he inaugurated an 
investigation which eventually placed 
the offenders in the penitentiary.’ 
‘Such things are done not only by 
better men, but even by many of 
those who have been, or deserve to 
be, m the pemtentiary’ (Prof. N. S. 
SuALER, The Citizen, 122). In his 
biography of Senator Aldnch, Prof- 
N. W. Stephenson quotes Senator 
Quay as saying that ‘Harrison would 
never learn how close a number of 
men were compelled to approach the 
gates of the penitentiary to make him 

pennant. In Am. a pennant is more 
than a flag; it is a flag awarded as a 
sign of victory in an athletic champion- 
ship contest. ‘The champions took a 
little stronger hold on first place in the 
race for the pennant.’ ‘The Yankees 
[a baseball team], organized in 1903, 
had never won a pennant. In the 12 
years of Huggins’s leadership the 
Yankees won three world’s champion- 
ships and six Am. League pennants’ 
(Diet. Am. Biog, ix. 346). 

penny is popularly used in Am. to 
denote the one-cent piece, which corre- 
sponds not to the Eng. penny but to 
the Eng. halfpenny. ‘A hotel clerk 
bet $10 with a friend that the 
Athletics would take two games out 




of the first three. The friend carried 
a large bag to Wynecoop to-day and 
poured out 1,000 pennies on the 
counter. “Here’s the money I lost,” 
he said.’ ‘One of the most widely 
desired improvements in the postal 
service that is indicated for the early 
future IS the adoption of one-cent 
letter postage. It has been asserted 
by Congressional leaders that, as soon 
as Utie Post Office Department could 
make itself a self-supporting institu- 
tion, Congress would grant penny 
postage to the people of the U.S.’ 
(F. J. Haskin, The Am. Government, 
77). The Am. author of a guide-book 
to Europe warns the visitor to London 
that, when a bus conductor asks him 
for a penny, he means two of them 
(F. L. Collins, Travelcharts and 
Travel Chats, 14). 

In the pluiv, pennies is used in Am. 
where pence would be used in Eng. 
‘The despised material, worth only 
three or four pennies a yard’ (K. D. 
WiGGiN, Rebecca, 286). 

tpepper, in the fig. sense, is in Am. 
commonly abbreviated to pep. ‘The 
captam is a little fellow,resourcefiil. Ml 
of “pep”, information, and nautical 
lore’ (Sen. H. B. Hawes, Philippine 
Uncertainty, 20), ‘When the mind 
is sick, the soul lacks spiritual pep’ 
(R. B. H. Bell, The Life Abundant, 

period is little used in Eng., but 
commonly in Am., in the sense otfull 
stop. ‘This final drafting in which 
men haggle over a word, a phrase, a 
comma, a period’ (Ida M. Tarbell, 
Owen D. Young, 199). 'Throughout 
his mature life he was known to his 
friends by the initials only of his 
given names, and always signed 
himself W J McGee, without periods’ 
(Diet. Am. Biog. xii. 48). 

pet. The Am. coHoq. term petting 
party denotes a ‘social gathering of 
young people at which hugging, 
kissing, &c., axe indulged in’ (Concise 
Oxford Diet.). ‘In the more dimly 
lighted pahn-ioom there may be a 

juvenile petting party or two going 
on’ (F. L. Allen, Only Yesterda^ 
11). ‘Apparently the “petting party” 
had been current as early as 1916, and 
was now [1920] widely established as 
an indoor sport’ (op. cit. 90). 

pheasant. Acc. to the Century 
Diet., in the Southern and Middle 
States this word denotes the ruffed 

physician has a much more popular 
use in Am. than in Eng. E.g. an Am. 
might say: ‘My physician tells me I 
smoke too much.’ ‘If this pain con- 
tinues, I must consult a physician.’ 
‘My son mtends to become a physi- 
cian.’ In such cases an Englishman 
would use the word doctor instead of 
physician. See also office. 

piazza. The Italian word piaxza 
properly denotes a public square or 
market place. In Eng., where it is 
now rare, it means a colonnadei e.g. 
the piazza on the North side of 
Covent Garden, London. In Am. it 
is the verandah of a house. ‘The most 
elective missionary work may often 
be done over the teacups and on the 
summer hotel piazza.’ ‘The piazza 
politician, sipping his toddy, spread- 
ing his legs, and discussing constitu- 
tional questions on the spacious 
verandahs of open-air Virginia’ (Prof. 
J. A. Harrison, George Washington, 
198). ‘I sat on the piazza in front of 
that little cottage’ (Prof. M. Pupin, 
From Immig^t to Inventor, 328). 
‘From our piazza and many parlor 
windows we overlooked the town’ 
(F. J. Stimson, My U.S, 7). 

tpick. Am. pick on = Eng, single 
out, select, esp. for the purpose of 
passing censure or causing annoyance. 
‘Governor Dawson picked on Judge 
Nesbitt to succeed the late Judge 
Melvin.’ ‘Some of the early Cafi- 
fomia laws picked on certain aspects, 
such as cubic air space in laundries, 
in order to hit the Chinese; but all 
such acts have been declared illegal 
because of the obvious discriminatory 
features’ (Prof. E. G. Mears, Resi- 




dent Orientals on the Am. Pacific 
Coast, 192). 

pie. The Am. pie corresponds nearly 
to the Eng. <arf. The Eng. jsic is some- 
times known in Am. as a deep pie. The 
word is used fig. m the vocab. of poli- 
tics, to denote the spoils of office, esp. 
in the term pie counter. ‘This repre- 
sentative was looked upon as the 
dispenser of patronage in Virginia 
because of the promise of the Presi- 
dent that he w^ould allow the pie to 
be handed out by the men who did 
the fighting.’ ‘Tammany leaders 
gathered together to-day for the 
cutting of the political pie. The 
distribution of pieces was discussed 
with Murphy, who runs the pie 
counter.’ ‘When his constituents 
asked him why he could not secure 
more [postal] routes, the only reply 
he could make was that he could 
not get up to the pie counter.’ Cf. 


The use of the word in Am. is not 
restricted to pastry. The Eskimo 
pie, a popular delicacy in hot weather, 
may be described either as a bar 
of chocolate filled with ice-cream or 
as a bar of ice-cream coated wath 
chocolate. ‘^lunching an Eskimo pie 
in an effort to keep cool between the 
acts.’ ‘Such was the sudden and 
overwhelming craze for Eskimo Pie 
that in three months the price of 
cocoa beans on the N.Y. market rose 
50 per cent ’ (F. L. Allen, Only 
Yesterday, 80). See also pot. 

piedmont is in Eng. a proper name 
only, denoting a district in Italy at 
the foot of the Alps. In Am. it is 
a common name also, ‘This nuddle 
group and the agricultural prole- 
tariat (the “poor whites”) shared the 
piedmont’ (P. Lewinson, Race, Class 
and Party, 6). ‘The territory was 
practically covered with rocky hills 
reaching nearly to the ocean, with 
but a narrow piedmont region, and 
with no coastal plain’ (Dr. J. H. 
Frederick, The Development of 
Am. Commerce, 4). ‘The Albemarle 
pippin of the Virginia piedmont’ 

(Prof. A. M. ScHLESiNGEB, The Rise 
of the City, 8). 

pig. In Am. this word retains its 
original meaning of the young of 
swine. In Eng. it has come to mean 
a swine of any age. Acc. to the 
O.E.D. clear examples of this later 
use are rare before the 19th century. 
See HOG. For blind pig, see blind. 
The Am. term pig Latin has nothing 
to do with dog Latin. It denotes what 
is known in Eng, as back-slang; i.e. 
a kind of secret language in which the 
first consonant of an ordinary word 
is taken off and placed at the end, 
a vowel sound being then added. 
‘Some of the patrons of her school 
considered Flavia “stuck up” be- 
cause she didn’t approve of their 
listening in on their party telephones 
when she talked homi^ evenings to 
Alta. She talked in pig Latin, she 
and Alta both speaking and under- 
standing it as if It were a native 
tongue. Unable to keep up with 
them, the neighbors missed the drift 
of the conversation’ (L. N. Wright, 
Limbs of an Old Family Tree, 102). 

pilot. In Eng. a railway engine 
sent to clear the wray for another — 
before a royal train, for instance — ^is 
known as a pilot engine. On Am. 
railways a pilot (also called cow- 
catcher) is an apparatus fixed in front 
of an engine to remove obstacles. 
‘A portion of the track was destroyed, 
and the pilot and headlight of the 
engine were blown off.’ 

pin. In Scotland, acc. to Wright’s 
IDiai. Diet., this word may denote an 
iron or wooden peg and in Eng. it 
has the same meaning in certain 
connexions. In Am. the compound 
clothes-pin = Eng. clothes-peg. See 
also ROW. 

pint. In using Am. recipes, Eng. 
cooks must remember that the pint is 
in Eng. a measure of 20 fluid ounces 
but in Am. of only 16. See also 


pipe. In the vocab. of Am, politics. 




pipe-laying is an alternative term for 
toire-pulling. ‘He was elected to 
Congress, but refused to serve a 
second term. He was disgusted by 
the wire-pulling, the office brokerage, 
and the pipe-laying which went on 
around him.’ ‘Through the instru- 
mentality of William H. Seward, 
who introduced [into the N.Y. Legis- 
lature] a system called “pipe laying”, 
the whole political atmosphere was 
changed. ‘‘Pipe laying” was an 
organized scheme for controlling 
votes, and derived its name from 
certain political manipulations con- 
nected with the introduction of Cro- 
ton water in N.Y. City’ (Marian 
Gouveenexjr, As I Remember, 12). 

pit has in Am. the spec, meaning of 
‘that part of the floor of an exchange 
where a special kind of busmess is 
carried on ’ (Century Diet.). A famous 
novel by Frank Norns is entitled The 
Pit in this sense. ‘It has been re- 
garded as the most important crop 
report of the season, and some time 
before the report was due the pit 
became crowded to the last foot of 
standing room with anxious brokers.’ 
‘Through an initial misjudgment of 
the future prospects of the market, 
the [Farm] Board seems to have 

f otten into the grain pit by the back 
oor’ (Cassius M. Clay, The Main- 
stay of Am. Individualism, 124), 
‘Henry Morgenthau, Jr., chairman 
of the Federal Farm Board, sold 
in the Chicago pit the remaining 
1,100,000 bushels of Sept, wheat’ 
(N.Y. World Almanac for 1934, 101). 
In Am. piU as denoting part of a 
theatre, has been superseded by 
orchestra or parquet, 

pitcher is nowadays an archaic or 
poetical word in Eng. In Am. it is 
the everyday substitute for the Eng. 
jug, Acc. to Gilbert M. Tucker (Am. 
Eng, 164) a pitcher^ in Am. usage, is 
a vessel of any material but having 
a comparatively wide mouth, per- 
haps covered but never tightly 
closed, whereas a jug is made of 
earthenware and has a small mouth 

intended for a cork or some other 
sort of stopper. ‘Serve the after- 
dinner coffee on a tray with a coffee- 
pot, cream-pitcher, and sugar-bowl, 
all matching.’ ‘Symphony Hall plat- 
form was bare of all furnishings but 
a stand with glasses and a water 
pitcher.’ ‘A clean towel laid across 
the top of the wash pitcher.’ ‘She 
came back with a pitcher of hot tea’ 
(K. D. WiGGiN, My Garden of 
Memory, 161). ‘Cocktails mixed in 
a glass pitcher’ (Sinclair Lewis, 
Dodsworth, 261). ‘The steward 
brought me a large pitcher of ice 
water’ (Anita Loos, Gentlemen Pre- 
fer Blondes, 43). 

In Am. pitcher is also a baseball 
term, denoting the player W’ho throws 
the ball to the batter, in an effort to 
‘strike’ him out, or ‘fan’ him, i.e. to 
cause the batter to fail in three 
attempts to hit the ball. ‘A base- 
ball enthusiast has invented a 
pneumatic gun to take the place of 
the pitcher.’ ‘He came along during 
the transition from the original 
‘‘straight arm” delivery, from which 
the words “pitching” and “pitcher” 
were derived, to the unhampered 
throw that made the curve so 
effective.’ ‘He served as pitcher of 
the student ball team’ (Diet. Am. 
Biog. X. 211). 

place, when used in Am. to denote 
a property in the country, usually 
indicates something on a much 
smaller scale than when used in the 
same sense in Eng. ‘Scattered among 
the large farms are a few little 
“places”. These little patches of 
land, ranging in size from an acre 
or so to ten or twenty acres, have in 
them the making of summer-home 
sites,’ The owner’s name is often 
prefixed to it. ‘Charlotte and Emory 
Blake lived at the old Blake place, on 
the little plateau at the foot of the 
Colton hill, in a vine-covered cottage.’ 
‘The property which he had pur- 
chased the year before — the Hoppin 
place — ^included fourteen acres of 
land and a comfortable old house’ 




(Prof. N. W. Stephenson, Nelson W. 
Aldrich, 145). 

plan. In Am. the verb plan may 
mean not only devzse but intend^ 
hope. It may accordingly be followed 
by to, so that one may not only plan 
a" thing, but plan to do or make a 
thing. ‘The trip that he and his 
wife had planned to take abroad has 
been postponed,’ ‘The Bishop plans 
to keep the third anniversary of his 
consecration on Monday.’ ‘When her 
mother sent her a Christmas present 
of a Paris gown, she danced with 
delight. There was to be a Christmas 
tree in the academy chapel, and she 
planned to wear it’ (M. E. IVilkins 
Freejian, By the Light of the Soul, 
422). ‘A land m which they planned 
to do as they chose’ (J. Truslow 
Adams, The Epic of Am. 115). 

plank. In the vocab. of Am. 
politics, a planls is a single item in 
the PLATFORM (q.v.). ‘The principal 
feature of the platform will be the 
tariff plank.’ ‘In response to public 
opinion, the Rep. parly put into its 
platform a plank in favor of giving 
enlarged powers to the Commission.’ 
‘WTien the plank against injunctions 
was put in the Kansas City platform 
in 1900 it was resented by the public 
as an impeachment of the courts.’ 
‘Throughout California during the 
eighties the question of Chinese immi- 
gration was particularly acute. No 
political party platform was complete 
without a plank in favor of restnction 
or exclusion’ (G, T. Clark, Leland 
Stanford, 452). 

A favourite Am. method of cooking 
fish (esp. shad) is by splitting it open, 
fixing it on a board, and roasting at 
a hot fire. Fish thus treated is said 
to be planked, ‘Lots of sunshine, 
baseball, and an abundance of steam- 
ing planked shad made the fire 
underwriters a happy and Jovial 
bunch at their annual outing yester- 
day. . . . All this time a hunched shad 
were being baked in the open just 
behmd the dining hall. Long planks, 
cut hesh horn oak trees, were set on 

the ground about three feet apart. 
On these were skewered the shad, 
while between them green wood was 
burned, which slowly turned the fish 
into the delicious morsels which have 
made these annual feasts famous.’ 
‘Most fish is planked too long, that’s 
■why it’s dry and flavorless.’ ‘Any 
white fleshed fish is good planked’ 
(Mrs. Rorer’s New Cook Book, 108). 

The use of this process is not limited 
to fish. ‘The planked chicken was 
served on the plank, which was 
garnished with mashed potatoes 
browned, cut up carrots, chopped 
green peppers, asparagus tips, string 
beans, and green peas, arranged in 
a garland around the chicken.’ 

plantation^ planter. An Eng. 
plantation is a piece of land on which 
young and grovung trees have been 
planted. The word is also used in 
Eng. to denote an estate, in tropical 
or sub-tropical regions, on which tea, 
sugar, rubber, &c., are grown. It is 
in the latter sense that the word is 
used m the Southern States of Am., 
with special reference to the growing 
of cotton, tobacco, and sugar. 

In an earlier sense the word prac- 
tically == colony, i.e. a settlement 
planted in a new coimtry. Thus, some 
of the first settlements in New Eng. 
were called the Rhode Island or Pro- 
vidence plantations. 

Accordingly, planter may mean 
either (1) a pioneer colonist, or (2) the 
owner of a large estate in the South. 

plate. A distinctively Am. term is 
plate dinner or plate lunch. This 
denotes a meal at which, in order 
to save time and trouble, the whole 
of a course — e.g. meat and several 
vegetables — ^is set before one simul- 
taneously on a plate, instead of its 
various items being offered separately. 
‘His pork-chop plate lunch seemed 
singularly tasteless,’ 

In the vocab. of Am. journalism the 
term plate matter is used as explained 
in the first of the following quotations. 
“‘Plate matter” was the invention of 
a noble genius who saw in this device 




the way to profit from the parsi- j 
monious instincts of rural journalism. 
Columns of “literature'* were written j 
in N.Y., set up and stereotyped, and | 
large sheets of metal, of newspaper size, 
were sent by the thousands into the 
provinces. The newspapers receiving 
these Greek gifts thus had a complete ; 
page — pictures and all — ^without the 
mvestment of a dollar’ (B. J. Hen- 
drick, Earlier Life of Walter H. 
Page, 198). ‘Most of the space of 
the four-sheet Kemper Herald is 
taken up by advertisements and plate 
matter’ {A. P. Raper, Tragedy of 
Lynching, 89). 

An alternative term for the same 
thing IS boiler plate. ‘Barrages of 
boiler plate, clip sheets, and so on 
descended on 10,000 newspapers from 
the Legion News Service.’ ‘News- 
papers and magazines had been sup- 
plied with articles, news releases, and 
“boiler jilate” favorable to the ideas 
of those in charge of the corporations 
in the industry’ (T. C. Blaisdell, 
The Federal Trade Commission, 261). 
‘He was distributing boiler-plate 
propaganda to the press’ (F, L. 
Aelen, Only Yesterday, 58). 

See also home and silver. 

platform. There is a familiar and 
somewhat cynical saying in Am. 
politics that a platform is not some- 
thing to stand on but somethmg to 
get in on. The point of this remark 
is blunted for any one who is not 
aware of the spec. Am. uses of the 
word platform. In the vocab. of 
Am. politics it denotes the programme 
of a political party, as adopted at 
its national convention, esp. in the 
year of a Presidential election. Thus: 
‘The issues of the campaign have 
been enunciated, as far as possible, 
in the platforms of the respective 
parties.’ ‘As the platforms indicated, 
the presidential contest between the 
two political parties was waged on 
the question of repudiation’ (Prof. 
D. C. Barrett, Greenbanks and 
Specie Payments, 168). *A party 
convention choosing a candidate and 

writing a platform’ (W. Lippmann, 
Public Opinion, 24). Accordingly, to 
say that a candidate has a strong 
platform does not mean the same thing 
m Am. as in Eng. In Eng. it meaiw 
that he has an able group of speakers 
to support him at his meetings; in 
Am. that his programme is likely to 
be attractive to voters. 

An account of the Am, political 
platform will be found in Bryce 
{Am. Commonwealth, ce, LXX and 
LXXXIII). He remarks that the 
nearest Eng. parallel to an Am. plat- 
form is to be found in the addresses 
to their respective constituencies 
issued at a general election by the 
Prime Minister and the Leader of the 
Opposition, Such addresses, how- 
ever, as he points out, do not formally 
bind the whole party, as an Am. 
platform is supposed to do. See 


But when this difference is noted, 
the saying quoted above still needs 
explanation. For, at an Eng. railway 
station, a platform is something 
to stand on. Am, railway stations, 
however, usually have no platforms 
in the Eng. sense, but passengers 
enter the trains from the ground level. 
An Am. platform is one of the pro- 
jecting ends of a railway car, on 
which passengers must step when they 
enter the train. As they are not 
allowed to remain here, but are re- 
quired to proceed at once to their 
seats, it becomes true that in Am. 
a platform is not somethmg to stand 
on but something to get in on. ‘The 
Japanese envoy waved good-bye to 
N.Y. at 10 o’clock this morning from 
the rear platform of the Montreal 
Express.’ ‘Jig boarded the train. 
He stood alone on the back platform, 
wavmg to me’ (S. Glaspell, The 
Road to the Temple, 199). ‘That 
afternoon the train was crowded. 
I gave my seat to a lady and went to 
the rear platform’ (W. G, McAdoo, 
Crowded Years, 115). ‘Passengers 
must keep off the platform until the 
train stops’ is a notice one may often 
find inside the cars. 




platoon IS in Eng, a military term 
only. In Am. it is also used to denote 
a posse of police. ‘ It has been charged 
thSat the division of the force into 
three platoons made it impossible 
to maintain proper reserves in the 
station houses.’ ‘She looks out of 
the window and sees the platoon of 
policemen on a run to quell a riot.’ 
"The depot was packed solid, and 
a platoon of police had to clear 
the way with clubs’ (U. Sinclair, 
Manassas, 351). 

platter is nowadays a rather archaic 
terra in Eng., but is still in current 
use in Am. ‘Mrs. Frake replenished 
the platter, and put more eggs and 
bacon on the skillet’ (P. Stong, 
State Fair, 80). ‘Great platters of 
fricasee chicken’ (Dr. Franklin H. 

The Joy of Living, i. 12). 
‘Charley placed a platter before him 
on which lay an even dozen speckled 
trout fresldy caught, fried ensp 
brown in com meal’ (E. Hilts, in 
Life in the U.S. 124). 

plead. In Am. •pled, now obs. in 
Eng., exc. in dial., is still used as 
the past tense and past participle 
of this verb. ‘He pled for whatever 
bases of harmony might be attained 
among the dissident churches’ (Dr. 
L. N. Richardson, Hist, of Early 
Am. Magazines, 107). ‘He begged 
and pled with Ins young associate 
not to throw up a good connection’ 
(Prof. T. J. Grayson, Leaders and 
Periods of Am. Finance, 311). ‘The 
conventional forms under which 
divorce cases are pled’ (R. S. and 
H. iVI. Lynd, Middletown, 122). 
‘The superficial facts of the steel 
situation at that time pled strongly 
on their side’ (B, J. Hendrick, Life 
of Andrew Carnegie, 165). 

plenty. Shakespeare used this 
word as an adj., but nowadays in 
Eng., exc. in dial., it is a noun only. 
In Am. it may still = plentiful, 
‘Opportunities for advancement do 
not seem to be as plenty as they 
were.’ ‘Hickories and plums and 

peaches—just as young and just as 
plenty* (Wilbur D. Nesbit, The 
Trail to Boyland, 2). ‘Maps of the 
West Indies are now plenty’ (Dr. 
E. E. Hale, Lowell and his Friends, 
219). ‘In the early days, when land 
had been plenty’ (J. Truslow 
Adams, Hist, of the Am. People to 
the CivU War, 76). 

plug has in Am. the additional 
meaning of an overworked or worn-out 
horse, a ja^, ‘Indignant that the 
poor beast must serve not only as a 
butcher’s plug in the day but also 
as a tiding nag at night’ (K. W. 
Porter, John Jacob Astor, 19). 

Am. plug-hat = Eng. silk hat, ‘In 
Hawick, as in most of Scotland, men 
go to church in plug-hats and frock- 
coats’ (J. Kerney, Political Educa- 
tion of Woodrow Wilson, 94). ‘The 
plug-hat brigade felt no twinges in 
its heart; it took privilege as its 
right’ (W. A, White, Masks in a 
Pageant, 241). 

See also spark. 

plum is sometimes used fig. in Eng. 
to denote a piece of good fortune, or 
one of the prizes of a profession. In 
the vocab. of Am, politics it is spec, 
used of a stroke of luck of a parti- 
cular kind — appointment to a public 
office, esp. as a reward for party 
services. ‘At this time of the year 
the word “plum”, m its political 
significance, is conspicuous in the 
newspapers. The “plum” is, of 
course, a luscious fruit in the shape 
of an office under the State govern- 
ment, which many people are on the 
lookout to secure, and which is sup- 
posed to fall to some fortunate indi- 
vidual as the result of a process in 
which the “puli” bears an important 
part.’ ‘Juicy plums in the form of 
public offices and jobs’ (Dr. H. Zink, 
City Bosses in U.S. 49). 

The source of such emoluments is, 
accordingly, often described as a 
plum tree. ‘This is to be a bad year 
for small fruits. The apple crop is 
below the average. The San Jose 
scale is ravaging the Jersey peach 




orchards. And — ^worst of all — ^the 
State Civil Service Commission has 
just lopped off a goodly number of 
blossoms from the local political 
plum tree. Into the competitive 
basket have fallen 16 examiners of 
accounts in this city, 26 clerkships 
in the Board of Elections, and sundry 
sanitary superintendencies.’ ‘The 
“boys” have taken rather kindly 
to the new boss. They believe that, 
if he once gets a mayor of his own, 
there will be a chance for them to 
“■shake the plum tree”,’ 

* plurality. See majority, 

pocket. ‘The measure passed House 
and Senate, but Lincoln pocketed it’ 
(Prof. T. C. Pease, The U.S. 471). 
This would seem a careless, not to say 
disrespectful, way for a President 
to treat an important Congressional 
document. What Prof. Pease actually 
means, how^ever, is that Lincoln 
exercised what is known as a pocket 
veto. When the President of the U.S. 
wishes to veto a bill that has been 
passed by Congress, his normal pro- 
cedure is to return it with a written 
statement of his reasons for disap- 
proval. If the bill has been passed 
within ten days before adjournment, 
he may exercise a pocket veto ; i.e. he 
may refuse to sign, and at the next 
session of Congress may communicate 
his reasons. The verb denoting this 
act is either pocket, as in the above 
quotation, or, more commonly, pocket 
veto. ‘When in 1912 Congress passed 
it, it was pocket vetoed by President 
Taft’ (Dr. M. C. Cahill, Shorter 
Hours, 92). 

pocket-hook. Although the material 
purse has largely gone out of service 
in Eng., the change has not yet 
affected popular usage in such ex- 
pressions as ‘a well-filled purse’, ‘to 
tighten one’s purse’, ‘to hold the 
purse-strings’, &c. In Am., where for 
several generations money of as low 
a denomination as a dollar has been 
issued in the form of paper, pocket-hook 
has long corresponded, in this sense, 
to the Eng. purse, ‘ They are brought 

withm reach of the woman with a 
modest pocket-book.’ ‘He contribu- 
ted $2,000 to the campaign fund, but 
the others are keeping their hands on 
their pocket-books. ’ ‘ The laws go deep 
into the pocket-books of the citizens ’ 
(Dr. C. A, Beard, Am. Government 
and Politics, 258). ‘Vegetarian menus 
are easy to make up to suit the taste 
and the pocket-book’ (Dr. R, L. 
Alsaker, Eating for Health and 
Efficiency, 107). 

point. Several uses of this word are 
peculiar to Am. (1) It is often em- 
ployed, esp. in relation to railway 
travel, where place or station would 
be used in Eng. ‘The number here 
[arriving for a convention] is now 
estimated at 21,000 persons jfrom 
Eastern points.’ ‘It is a standing 
indignity to the millions of people 
who go between N.Y. and New Eng. 
points to make them endure the 
annoyances of that station.’ ‘They 
have taken a cottage on Lake St.- 
Clair and one at Mackinac, and will 
divide their summer between those 
two points.’ ‘ Under the consolidation 
it has become possible to run cars 
direct to distant points’ (T. Dreiser, 
Tragic Am. 120). 

(2) Its meaning in the vocab, of the 
Am. college is sufficiently indicated 
by the following quotations. ‘For 
university credit, each 30 hours’ 
course counts one point, and labora- 
tory work at the rate of 60 hours to 
one point. Fifteen points represent 
the minimum amount of work re- 
quired of every resident student.’ 
‘Neither the German nor the Eng. 
student can obtain a degree or qualify 
for examination by arithmetic^ 
accumulation of points or hours or 
credits’ (Dr. A. Flexner, Univer- 
sities, 321). ‘Plastic youths who 
sought education found it graded and 
measured by “points” ’ (Dr. C. A. and 
Mary R. Beard, The Rise of Am. 
Civilization, ii. 729). 

(3) Am. point or pen-point = Eng, 
nib. When the compiler of this dic- 
tionary asked in a Washmgton store 




for a new nib for his fountain pen, 
the shop assistant did not know what 
^ he meant, but offered to supply him 
with a new point. ‘14-karat solid 
gold pen point tipped with indium’ 

(4) Am. exclamation point = Eng. 
note or mark of exclamation, ‘The 
exclamation point subtly conveys an 
emotional, rhetorical hint to the 
reader.’ ‘The exclamation point is 
sometimes used by job-pnnters at the 
end of displayed Imes, for no other 
reason than its convenience in filling 
up an otherwise short line’ (T. L. de 
V iNNE, Correct Composition, 283). 
The Eng. railway term points is 
unknowm in Am., where this appara- 
ths IS called a switch, 

tpointer. In Eng. a teacher or 
lecturer gives this name to the rod 
by means of which he calls attention 
to something on a map or blackboard. 
In Am., as in some Eng. dial., the 
word is used fig. of b. hint ot suggestion, 
‘We shall give some pointers about 
the care of the eyes that will be help- 
ful to various readers.’ ‘Pointers on 
Sensible Shoes. Hints to the Woman 
Troubled With Aching Feet’ (Advt.). 
‘He was joined by a number of busi- 
ness men from China, who talked over 
the industnal system there and gave 
him some pointers of value to the 
U.S. and her policies in the Far East’ 
(R. L. Dunn, William Howard Taft, 

police. In the discussion of Am. 
constitutional problems a question of 
great importance is that of the exer- 
cise of the police power, a spec, term 
which is explained in the following 
quotations. ‘The police power is that 
broad and undefined power, which 
is inherent in all governments, to 
restrain individual jfreedom both as 
to person and property in order to 
safeguard and promote public interest 
in such fundamental matters as 
public safety, health, morals, and the 
like’ (Prof. C. C. Maxey, Outline 
of Municipal Government, 198). ‘The 
power to enact laws in the interest 

of such matters as the public morals, 
health, and safety — ^in short, the 
police power— belongs primarily to 
the States’ (Prof. H. L. McBain, The 
Living Constitution, 50). ‘We have 
never been accustomed to thinking 
of land as subject to the exercise of 
“the police power” — ^that convenient 
Am. term for the avoidance of con- 
stitutional difiiculties’ (C. P. How- 
land, Survey of Am. Foreign Rela- 
tions, 1931, 107). 

policy. WTien W. J. Ghent refers 
to ‘policy and race-betting’ as ‘the 
special refuges of the desperately 
poor and the desperately fatuous’ 
(Our Benevolent Feudalism, 172), the 
word policy, as he uses it, has nothing 
to do with either politics or prudence. 
It is the term in Am. for a form of 
gamblmg, by betting on numbers, of 
which a detailed account is given by 
W. B. and J. B. Northrop (The In- 
solence of Office, 59-61). ‘Detectives 
last evening raided an alleged policy 
headquarters where the drawings 
were printed on the blank side of 
Rep. primary ballots.’ ‘ Policy rackets 
have been unearthed even m public 

politician, politics. The following 
passage is taken from a leading 
article in the N.Y. Evening Post of 
March 2,^1923; ‘The Chancellor of 
the British Exchequer remarked at 
the Pilgrims’ dinner Wednesday that 
our common language carries an 
impediment to full Anglo-American 
amity because it makes people of the 
two lands feel that they have nothing 
more to learn about each other. Mr. 
Baldwin of all men should know that 
it has still another grave disadvan- 
tage. The slight differences m our 
speech open up many pitfalls of 
misunderstanding. He recently re- 
ferred to the fact that the debt agree- 
ment would have to be submitted 
to “politicians” from “pastoral dis- 
tricts” of the West. In Britain the 
word “politician” is applied without 
a thought of reproach, while Mr. 
Baldwin meant the word “pastoral” 




in simple literalness. In Am. “politi- 
cian” carries a tinge of opprobrium, 
while we think raillery implied in any 
reference to the “pastoral” regions. 
Hence indignation in Congress, con- 
sternation m Mr. Baldwin’s breast. 
Editors of the Bntannica hardly 
understood the anger of some Ameri- 
cans at finding Newton D. Baker 
described as a “politician” therein.’ 
A striking confirmation of the ‘tinge 
of opprobrium’ attachmg to the 
word in Am. was given by Miss Ellen 
Wilkinson, M.P., in the Star of 
March 25, 1931. ‘Once,’ she says, 
‘when lecturmg in Am., I made the 
obvious statement that I was a 
politician. I felt my audience stiffen. 
My anxious chairwoman-cum-hostess 
said to me in tones of agony after- 
wards, “My dear, donH say that 
again. It sounds so dreadfid’\'* A 
former Cabinet mmister records a 
similar experience. ‘Speaking to an 
Am. audience a few months ago I 
referred to myself as a politician. I 
saw that they were shocked’ (H. B. 
Lees-Smith, in Daily Herald, Nov. 9, 

Perhaps one may best understand 
the dLifference between Eng. and Am. 
usage by means of some further 
quotations. (1) ‘However much 
Blame was a politician, it seems to 
be a fact that from 1876 he was the 
choice of the majority, or of the 
largest faction, of Republicans, who 
believed that he had been kept from 
nomination by political expedients 
and who felt that his time had now 
come’ (Diet. Am. Biog. ii. 325). It 
is quite safe to say that this sentence 
would be absolutely unintelligible in 
Eng. Why should it be thought 
strange that a politician should be 
the choice of the majority of his 
pa:^, and why should there be any 
objection to the use of political ex- 
pedients to prevent his nomination 
for the Presidency? The explanation 
is that pohiician is here almost a 
synonym for intriguer or wire-puller^ 
and that political expedients » in- 

(2) ‘Some of President Taft’s best 
friends are said to be urging upon him 
the selection of an astute politician 
to act as “arbiter” in directing his 
political fortunes. They give the 
reason that politics is very distasteful 
to him. The real unstated reason is 
of course that he has not the slightest 
aptitude for politics.’ This is from 
a paper that at the time was warmly 
supporting Pres. Taft and his poli- 
cies! Here politics evidently means 
tactical skill or manoeuvring, 

(3) ‘Northern enemies [of Pres. 
Theodore Roosevelt] were quick to 
draw a conclusion; the expulsion 
of the Brownsville soldiers was mere 
politics, a play to the gallery to make 
sure the hold of the administration 
on the Southern Rep. machine’ 
(Prof. N. W. Stephenson, Life of 
Senator Aldrich, 327). Here the word 
means very much the same as in (2). 

(4) ‘At that time I had no expenence 
which, in a technical sense, could be 
called political. I had held no public 
office, and I had never worked my 
way through a party organization 
in the manner regarded by regulars 
as a pre-requisite to office-holding’ 
(G. W. Pepper, In the Senate, 8). 
We learn, however, from the same 
book that, although Mr. Pepper had 
had no political e^erience, he had 
been a leader, outside the Senate, in 
the fight against the unconditional 
acceptance of the League of Nations 
and had served on a Commission on 
Constitutional Amendment and Re- 

(5) In his autobiography, ‘Up To 
Now’, ex-Govemor ‘Al’ Smith thus 
explains why a former Mayor of N. Y. 
was a failure in public life. ‘The loose 
cog in the wheel happened to be that 
he held a political position and was 
1,000 miles away from being a politi- 
cian. He did not know how to handle 
people and did not know how to deal 
with them or how to get along with 
them. . . . Not bemg a politician, he 
was lacking in knowledge of the 
human element.’ Here the essential 
qualification of a politician is not 




competence in dealing with the prob- 
lems of government, but the tem- 
perament of a good ‘mixer’ who is 
adroit in obtaining and retaining 

(6) Must not every Congress neces- 
sarily be a political body as every 
Parliament must be a political body? 
Apparently not, as the two following 
quotations suggest. ‘This is a politi- 
cal Congress, as well as a do-nothing 
Congress; or, rather, it is a do-nothing 
Congress, because it is a political 
Congress. The whole present idea of 
the Rep. members in the two Houses 
is to do nothing or say nothing that 
will injure the party in the campaign 
next summer.’ ‘The present session 
might fitly be called a do-nothing 
Congress. Members have done noth- 
ing of large import to the dear ones 
at home. They are too busy talking 
politics and writing politics and 
thinking politics and working politics.’ 
Or, as would be said m Eng., they are 
doing everything with an eye to the 
next election. 

The peculiar senses thus attached 
to politics in Am.— esp. in connexion 
with office-seeking — have led to its 
use in matters that are far remote 
from politics in its Eng. sense, ‘The 
retirement of Col. Shumway from 
the Second Regiment has stirred 
up interest in regimental politics, and 
his successor is already being dis- 
cussed, The general opinion among 
militiamen in this locality is that 
Major Fairbanks will be chosen to 
that position.’ ‘Never had I known 
such fun in a newspaper office as I 
had the first few years on the Wcyrld, 
Whatever office politics there may 
have been, I was unaffected, for no- 
body wanted my job and I didn’t 
want anybody’s’ (F. P. Adams, The 
End of The Wtxrld, 21). “‘I thought 
I was out of politics for good when 
I completed my four-year term and 
started a bank”, remarked a former 
office-holder, “but I find that I never 
knew what politics was until I got 
into the banking business. The many 
clashing interests to harmonize, the 

differences between business men to 
heal, the rivalry for the good ac- 
counts and the distaste for the bad 
ones, together with the effort to avoid 
losses without making enemies, give 
to the country banker’s life a piquancy 
that to the public servant is un- 
known.’ ‘In the South the Greek- 
letter fraternity system dominated 
student social life and campus poli- 
tics as well’ (Prof. A, M, Schlesin- 
GEB, The Rise of the City, 208), 

In Am. tactical manoeuvring in 
public affairs is often described aa 
playing politics (not playing at poli- 
tics), ‘The people of the county as 
a whole are tired of seeing political 
parties trying to play politics. They 
will insist on square dealing with all 
public questions. Any party that 
attempts to do a thing simply for the 
purpose of gaining a political advan- 
tage is not likely to be sustained by 
the people.’ ‘The Governor himself 
to-day occupies a most unenviable 
position and will find himself faced 
with the charge of playing politics.’ 
‘While professing to believe that some 
sort of emergency legislation was 
immediately necessary, the Senate 
played politics and talked to the 
country on all these issues by turns’ 
(Prof. N. W. Stephenson, Life of 
Senator Aldrich, 327). ‘No doubt can 
exist that Theodore Roosevelt, as the 
1904 election drew near, was playing 
politics in his own behalf. Expedi- 
ency dictated certain of his appoint- 
ments’ (H. F. Pringle, Theodore 
Roosevelt, 343). See also peanut. 

pony. ‘Many a college youth rides 
through his Greek and Latin recita- 
tions on a pony’ (Leon Mead, Word- 
Coinage, 188). Thas indoor equestrian 
feat is likely to puzzle any Eng. 
reader who is not aware that pony 
is used fig. in Am. to denote a transla- 
tion for the assistance (esp. illegi- 
timate) of students — the Mnd of book 
that in Eng. is commonly called a 
crib. See TROT. For cozo pony, see cow. 

poor. In articles and books dealing 
with the Southern States one often 




comes across references to a class of 
persons known as poor whites. Thus : 
‘The poor whites of the black belt, 
a numerous folk who had always 
formed the very dregs of Southern 
white society’ (Prof. A, M. Schlesin- 
GEB, The Rise of the City, 4). ‘The 
“poor whites” in the South, al- 
though they belonged to the same 
race as the slave holders, were looked 
upon as almost a different species’ 
(C. S. Johnson, The Negro in Am. 
Civilization, 356). 

In a valuable essay on this subject 
contnbuted to ‘Culture m the South’ 
Dr, A. N. J. Den Hollander complains 
that this term is commonly employed 
loosely and incorrectly by non- 
Southem writers. It has come to be 
used — of course, in a derogatory 
sense — of all non-slaveholding white 
people in the South, and has thus 
been responsible for much misunder- 
standing. There was a considerable 
group of non-slaveholding small yeo- 
man farmers, artisans, &c., who did 
not belong to the class of poor whites. 
In discriminating Southern speech, 
the term was not used to apply to all 
white persons who were poor, but 
was spec, applied to those who were 
not only poor but conspicuously 
lacking in the common social and 
economic virtues — ^people character- 
ized by ‘lazmess, carelessness, un- 
reliability, lack of foresight and am- 
bition, habitual failure, and general 
incompetence’ (Culture in the South, 

pop* The verb pop has a spec, use 
in Am. in connexion with corn (q.v.). 
To pop corn is to parch or roast it 
until it bursts open with a pop. A 
variety of com suitable for this 
treatment is known as popcorn, ‘The 
popping of com’, acc. to a statement 
of the U.S. Department of Agncul- 
ture, ‘is due to volatilization of the 
oil contained in the kernel. Field com 
does not pop as easily as popcorn 
pops, because the outer portion of 
the kernel is more porous, permitting 
the escape of the oil as it volatilizes, 

while in the case of popcorn a great 
pressure is developed in the kernel 
by the confined oil and the kernel is 
suddenly exploded and turned wrong 
side out. In composition popcorn 
differs from ordinaiy corn in having 
a larger proportion of corneous ele- 
ment and a greater per cent, of oil.’ 
‘Eight acres have been sown with 
green corn and one with popcorn for 
popping at open fires in the winter.’ 
‘ I do not imagine that anywhere else 
in the world is there a half, or a 
tenth part, so much fiction consumed 
as in the Eng. summer resorts. It is 
probably of the mnutritious lightness 
of pop-corn’ (W. D. Howells, in 
Noith Am. Rev.). 

The Am. compound pop-eyed is an 
epithet for a person who is so startled 
that his eyes seem almost to be 
popping out of his head. ‘Half an 
hour later he was before a magistrate 
in the police court pop-eyed with 
alarm.’ ‘The class was open-mouthed, 
and the professor pop-eyed with 

porch. The porch of an Am. house 
is not a covered approach to the 
front door but a verandah, ‘He paced 
the back porch slowly.’ ‘Broad 
porches ran the length of the house 
on both sides.’ ‘I can picture him 
in that last autumn of his life, seated 
on the porch of his beloved Mount 
Vernon in the ^thering twilight’ 
( J. M. Beck, May it Please the Court, 

Hence Am, porch climber = Eng. 
cat burglar, ‘ For years before he be- 
came a convict he had led the hfe 
of a thief, a pickpocket, a yeggman, 
and a porch climber.’ ‘CoiSdence 
men, porch climbers, burglars, and 
all sorts of thieves were permitted 
to operate’ (L. Steffens, Autobiog. 

pork. ‘Patronage and pork amal- 
gamate and stabilize thousands o^ 
special opinions, local discontents, 
private ambitions’ (W. Liffmann, 
Public Opmion, 291). On the face 
of it, the connexion of pork with 




political patronage seems comparable 
to that of Monmouth with Maeedon. 
The actual association betw'een the 
two is revealed by Dr. C. A. Beard in 
his account of Congress at work (Am. 
Government and Politics, 257), where 
he tells us that the fortunes of the 
ordinary Congressman are likely to 
depend on his success in obtaining, 
from the Federal treasury, appro- 
priations for Post Office buildmgs, 
river and harbour improvements, and 
pensions, for the benefit of his own 
constituency. ‘Legislation of this 
character’, continues Dr. Beard, ‘is 
called “pork-barrel legislation”, a 
term remmiscent of plantation days. 
It was the old custom on Southern 
estates to allot periodically a certam 
amount of pork to the slaves; at the 
appointed time the pork-barrel was 
rolled into view, the head knocked 
in, and the contents distributed 
among eager beneficiaries. The ap- 
plicability of the figure of speech to 
the legislative process above described 
needs no elucidation.’ A different, 
and less likely, account of the ongin 
of the term is given by Prof. A. E. 
Martin (Plist. of U.S. ii, 235, foot- 

The metaphor is obviously capable 
of being extended to cover similar 
transactions outside Congress. ‘The 
policy of the architects is always 
to prefer a nearby bmldmg material 
where the conditions are favorable. 
They do this, not to give somebody 
a piece of “pork” that is going 
around, but for artistic reasons.’ 
‘When there is a party bond between 
the mayor and the majority of the 
council, it is quite possible for the 
mayor to exercise a constructive 
influence in legislative matters, pro- 
vided he is willing to pay the price 
in patronage and “pork”’ (C. C. 
MArmy, Outline of Municipal Govern- 
ment, 55). ‘Denominational repre- 
sentatives habitually act upon the 
formula, “You favor me here and 
I’ll favor you there.” In brief, a 
trading psychology, like that of 
Congressmen, is added to the watch- 

dog psychology. This tends to create 
a pork-barrel atmosphere’ (H. P. 
Douglass, Church Comity, 63). 

portfolio. This word has a spec, 
use m the vocab. of Am. finance, 
where it denotes the collection of 
securities possessed by a financial 
institution, a bill-broker, &c. ‘The 
portfolio of the three largest Insull 
holding companies consisted of three 
types of investments; securities of 
operating companies, securities of 
sub-holding companies, and each 
other’s stocks.’ ‘When the J. M. 
Guffey Petroleum Company stock 
graced the Mellon portfolio’ (H. 
O’Connor, Mellon’s Millions, 100). 
‘In the member banks of the Federal 
Reserve System, discountable paper 
in its portfolio, when converted into 
reserve notes, makes credit elastic’ 
(Prof. J. L. Laughlin, The Federal 
Reserve Act, 242), ‘In the exercise 
of his functions as a middleman, the 
dealer is compelled to maintain a 
certain portfolio, as are investment 
banks, commercial paper houses, and 
all like institutions exercising inter- 
mediate functions in the money 
market’ (B. H. Beckhart, The N.Y. 
Money Market, iii, 382). 

post. In the terminology of the 
iUn. army, a post is (1) a place where 
a body of troops is stationed, or (2) 
the body of troops occupying such a 
station. ‘At some of the posts the 
desertions have reached as high as 
30 per cent.’ ‘The canteen was a 
saloon kept by military authority in 
camps, posts and garrisons to sell 
liquor to the soldiers. Officially in 
the army it was usually referred to 
as the “post exchange”, which was 
the army name for the general store’ 
(D. L. Colvin, Prohibition in U.S. 
304). ‘ A tour of inspection of frontier 
army posts’ (Diet. Am. Biog. ix. 268). 
A garrison is apparently distmguished 
from a post by being fortified for 

A spec, use of the verb is current 
in certain States where land is said 
to be posted when the owner puts 




up signs prohibiting the shooting of 
game thereon. ‘A report comes from 
Granville to the effect that farmers 
have posted their land in all directions 
and are expressing dissatisfaction at 
the slaughter of the deer.’ 

In Am. the notice post no bills takes 
the place of the Eng. stick no bills. 

In Eng. cards sent by post are alike 
called post cards, whether they are 
Issued by the Post Office itself or are 
of private manufacture. The Am. 
Post Office distinguishes between 
postal cards, issued by itself, and 
privately manufactured posi cards, 
though both are transmitted at the 
same rates. The term postal card 
is commonly abbrev. to postal, ‘On 
Monday night the company sent out 
500 postals, asking men to return to 
work yesterday.’ 

See also mail. 

pot* The Am. compound pot-pie is 
defined by the Century Diet, as ‘a 
dish of stewed meat with pieces of 
steamed pastry or dumplings served 
in it’. ‘Whether these lovely crea- 
tures are killed to adorn women’s 
bonnets or to furnish pot-pie for the 
half-civilized immigrants, their slaugh- 
ter equally deprives the earth of 

‘On Thursday as turkey 
He cutteth a dash; 

He’s potpie on Friday, 

On Saturday hash.’ 

The term is sometimes used fig. 
*If a paper has more than one editor, 
if its editorial page is an intellectual 
pot-pie, then “we” is not inappro- 
priate’ (J. R. Buchanan, Story of a 
labor Agitator, 346). 

potato. In Am. the common potato 
is often called the white potato or 
the Irish potato, to distinguish it from 
the sweet potato, ‘Sweet potatoes, 
cooked with fat, are much more 
objectionable than white potatoes 
tmder the same conditions’ (Mrs. 
RoREa’s New Cook Book, 312). 
‘The cultivation of white potatoes 
and peanuts has increased slightly. 

but there was a marked decrease in 
the acreage devoted to com, wheat, 
hay, and sweet potatoes’ (Prof. T. J. 
WooFTER, Jr., Races and Ethnic 
Groups in Am. Life, 99). The meet 
potato is sometimes called a yam; 
e.g. ‘Sweet potatoes from Florida are 
the latest arrivals in Centre Market, 
where a good supply of yams was 
received this week.’ It belongs, how- 
ever, to the Mormng Glory family 
(Ipomoea Batatas), while the yam is 
a Dioscorea. Acc. to Greenough and 
Kittredge (Words and Their Ways, 
138) the sweet potato has the best of 
nghts to its name, for it was called 
potato before this name was given to 
the white tuber that is now called the 
true potato, 

preceptor is a term which is now 
antiquated in Eng. It survives only 
m the College of Preceptors, a London 
educational institution dating from 
1846, which would certainly have had 
a different name if it had been 
founded in the present century. The 
word may still be occasionally met 
with in Am., as may also preceptress, 
‘For a short time he was preceptor of 
the academy in Fairfield’* (Diet. Am. 
Biog. VI. 665). ‘I felt a little as if I 
had escaped from an exacting pre- 
ceptress’ (WiLLA Gather in Atlantic 
Monthly), ‘A certain IVIrs. Williams 
is the fictional preceptress of a very 
select boarding-school admitting offiy 
seven pupils at a time’ (Diet, Am. 
Biog. vi. 548). 

Of late years the word has acquired 
in Am, a new and spec, meamng in 
connexion with a reform introduced 
at Princeton by Woodrow Wilson. 
The preceptorial system which he 
instituted there corresponds largely 
to the tutorial system at Oxford and 
Cambridge. The preceptors he ap- 
pomted were young men of distin- 
guished scholarship who were to 
meet groups of students, discuss with 
them the subjects of their study, and 
generally advise them with regard to 
their work. 

precinct. In Eng. an enclosed 




space, esp. including a place of wor- 
ship. In Am. a sub<flvision of a ward, 
for election and police pu^oses. 
‘The City is usually divided into a 
number of precincts or districts for 
police administration with a captain 
as chief commanding officer in each’ 
(C. C. ;Maxey, Outlme of Mumcipal 
Government, 162). ‘Now it is neces- 
sary to call up Police Headquarters, 
which in turn notifies the precinct.’ 
‘Others require the sanction of the 
precinct committeeman’ (Prof. C. E. 
Merriam, Chicago, 262), ‘The speak- 
ers expressed the feelings of the 
listeners, and the precinct police w^ere 
for dispersing them’ (L, Steffens, 
Autobiog. 640). 

The term is also used of a similar 
electoral division in rural districts. 
‘A precinct may include but a single 
block, as m a big city, or it may cover 
a township, as m the more sparsely 
settled districts. In some cases it 
contams only a handful of vot- 
ing inhabitants; in others, several 
hundred’ (C. E, Robinson, Straw 
Votes, 1). 

pre-empt, pre-emption. In Am. 
pre-empt has the spec, meamng of 
‘occupy (public land) so as to estab- 
hsh a pre-emptive title’ (O.E.D.) and 
pre-emption denotes ‘the purchase, or 
right of purchase, in preference and 
at a nominal pnce, of public land by 
an actual occupant, on condition of 
his improving it’ (O.E.D,). ‘Coupled 
with this attitude of neglect was the 
more positive Federal policy of reck- 
less land grants to pnvate individuals. 
The lands of the State [California] 
were admitted to preemption by the 
act of March 3, 1863’ (Prof. G. R. 
Geiger, The Philosophy of Heniy 
George, 220). 

prelate is sometimes loosely used 
in Am. as a synonym for parson or 
priest. ‘An Episcopal clergyman of 
Asbuiy Park announced from his 
pulpit that women without headgear 
were not wanted in his church. It 
is said that other prelates of the 
Episcopal church sympathize with 


him in the position he has taken.’ 
‘Like a flash the Father [a priest in 
a mining camp in Nevada] grappled 
with the man, grabbed the gim, 
overpowered him and threw him on 
the floor. “Now stay there”, ordered 
the prelate, “until I have finished”’ 
(Dr. G. D. Lyman, The Saga of the 
Comstock Lode, 81). 

premier. During Sir Austen Cham- 
berlain’s tenure of the Foreign Secre- 
taryship an important N.Y. daily 
happened to refer to him as ‘British 
Premier’. This was commented on 
by an Eng. writer as an example of 
an Am. journalist’s ignorance of Eng. 
affairs. The real explanation is that 
the N.Y. newspaper was employing 
the word in the Am. sense. In the 
U.S., premier denotes the Secretary 
of State, whose fimctions correspond 
to those of the British Foreign Secre- 
tary. ‘The Department of State has 
always been the most important of 
the executive departments of the 
U.S. government. Its chief, called 
sometimes though loosely “the Am. 
prenader”, is first among the cabinet 
officers.’ ‘Mr. Roosevelt all along 
hoped that Mr. Hay would continue 
as his Premier.’ 

Hence premiership ~ secretaryship 
of stale. ‘Madison had his cabinet 
troubles, too. Monroe accepted the 
I premiership in March, 1811, but not 
until being specifically assured that 
the foreign policy of the administra- 
tion was open to change’ (H. Minor, 
Story of the Dem. Party, 69). 

president is in Am. the title not 
only of the head of the Federal Ad- 
ministration but of the head of almost 
any kind of business organization, 
from the most important banlcs and 
railways downwards. ‘Walldng on 
Fifth Avenue one day, I met Presi- 
dent Mellon of the N.Y., New Haven 
and Hartford Railroad’ (L. Steffens, 
Autobiog. 631). ‘President Pulliam 
of the National League sajrs emphati- 
cally that there will be no changes 
in the baseball rules this season.’ 
‘President Sigismund Schwartz, of' 




the Pushcart Men’s Union, was at the 
City Hall to-day to complain to the 
Borough President of continued inter- 
ference vnth his men.’ 

In the academic world of Am., 
President is the usual designation 
for the head of a college or university. 
The heads of four colleges at Oxford 
and of one at Cambndge are called 
Presidents, but the name is not given 
to the head of any university in 
Great Britain. 

fThere is a corresponding freedom 
in the Am. use of the verb preside. 
‘A particularly inoffensive looking 
young man presided over the blanket 
counter.’ ‘No Am. youth is worth 
while who does not register a daily 
vow to preside over somethmg, from 
a railroad corporation to a labor 
organization, from a bank to a saloon.’ 

* Learn shorthand from expert short- 
hand reporters. The Success Short- 
hand School IS presided over by the 
most expert reporters’ (Advt.). 

primary. ‘Prior to the adoption 
in 1913 of the amendment providing 
for popular election of U.S. senators, 
numerous states by primary laws had 
in fact deprived their legislatures of 
the power to choose senators’ (Prof. 
H. L, McBain, The Living Constitu- 
tion, 27). Of what nature, then, are 
primary laws, as distinct from secon- 
dary and, possibly, tertiary laws? 
Actually there exists no such classi- 
fication of Am. laws as seems here 
to be implied. By primary laws Prof. 
McBain means laws regulating pri- 

For in Am. primary is a noun as well 
as an adj. It was originally a contrac- 
tion of prmai^ meetings a local party 
assembly which is so called because 
it is the basic unit in the machinery 
of party politics. Its delegates con- 
stitute the larger groups called con- 
ventions (q.v.), ‘The primaries have 
become so completely subjected to